The UK was represented by Ashley Goddard and James Binks, who took on 35 other plant operators from 13 countries across Europe in a series of four digger-related challenges at the Case Customer Centre at Monthyon near Paris.
These included Bullseye (pictured above), using a CX210C with a hydraulic grab to pick up geometric figures and place them in designated supports. Goddard came a very creditable third in this one and Binks was sixth. Some Dutch bloke won it by a country mile.
For the second challenge, Crazy Horse (below), the operators had to pick up a football with a TV380 skid steer, drive through a slalom course without dropping it, and then chuck the ball into a goal. Football and goals... we were clearly going to be in trouble here. Goddard and Binks came in 24th and 21st respectively on this one. One of the Latvian team won this one.
Next up came the Wheeled Loader Lasso, which required the operators to drive a 621F XR wheeled loader, picking up coloured poles and delivering them to colour-coded delivery points. Goddard was even worse at this, coming 32nd out of 37. Binks was 20th.
That same Dutch bloke who won the first event claimed victory in this one too.
Finally the competitors had to face the Buffalo Basket Ball challenge (below), using a CX55B mini excavator to take balls from their starting base and score baskets using the movement of the boom and dipper.
Our boys repaired their by-now slightly tarnished reputation on this one, I am happy to tell you. Binks came fourth and Goddard was pipped into second place, missing out on victory by the very narrowest of margins to Sebastien Pirlet from Belgium, who was also crowned the overall winner of the Rodeo and goes on to compete in the world finals in Brazil, all expenses paid. The Belgians also won the team prize.
Overall, Goddard came fourth and Binks eighth equal, which is not too sloppy at all. Better still, that gave them a team position of second. The Irish lads, Lee Graham and Karl Owen, were sixth and eighth equal respectively, making them the third placed team.
The British and Irish competitors are the men wearing the hats in the photo below, with their Case workers. From left to right are: Josh Copeland and David Garner (kneeling) from the Case marketing team, James Binks, Karl Owen, Ashley Goddard and Lee Graham, with two women from CNH Brazil who are doing well to hide their disappointment that none of these guys made it through to Brazil.