One of a million

Mancos man wins a Bobcat loader in company’s national contest

Steve Klumker was presented the a Bobcat loader on Wednesday at Bobcat of Durango. Klumker, 62, was one of 12,000 Bobcat users who responded to the question “How does Bobcat make you unstoppable?” The contest, won by Klumker, celebrated the manufacture of 1 million Bobcat vehicles. Enlargephoto

JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald

Steve Klumker was presented the a Bobcat loader on Wednesday at Bobcat of Durango. Klumker, 62, was one of 12,000 Bobcat users who responded to the question “How does Bobcat make you unstoppable?” The contest, won by Klumker, celebrated the manufacture of 1 million Bobcat vehicles.

The chances of a Mancos man being the winner in a national contest is pretty rare.

But in fact, that’s exactly what happened.

Steve Klumker won a loader from the Bobcat Co., which is marking the 1 millionth loader that rolled off its assembly line.

Klumker, who was presented with the loader Wednesday at Bobcat of Durango, was lured there believing he was among finalists for the award.

Klumker, 62, was one of 12,000 Bobcat users who responded to the question “How does Bobcat make you unstoppable?” His answer was judged the best.

He has operated Lazy K Bobcat Service Inc. for 40 years, using the Bobcat, which has 80 attachments, for grading, excavating and trenching. His father, Louis, before him provided similar services with Bobcat machinery. In fact, he was known as “Mr. Bobcat.”

The attachment of Mr. Bobcat to the brand was so strong that his burial plot on the family ranch is topped with a piece of old, restored Bobcat equipment, his son said.

Klumker whipped out his iPhone to show a photo of the gravesite with a plaque bearing dates of birth and death. He was born Nov. 23, 1922, and died April 8, 2011.

“He worked right up to his death,” Steve Klumker said. “He got his exercise walking behind a Bobcat plate compactor with hands resting on the equipment.”

A third generation of Klumkers, including his daughter, Cottin, and nephew, Chad Taylor, use Bobcat machinery in their businesses, Steve Klumker said.

In his 2½-page contest entry, Klumker likened his Bobcat loader to a Swiss army knife.

“Its wide array of attachments makes every job doable,” Klumker wrote.

The joy of the winner is tempered with one reality: He has to pay all applicable taxes and fees.

daler@durnagoherald.com