The Big Texas Road Show, a seven-stop tour of Ditch Witch® dealerships in Texas, wrapped up in June after having showcased a wide range of Ditch Witch equipment to approximately 800 customers and potential customers.
The Big Texas Road Show was a collaborative effort among independently owned Ditch Witch dealerships in Texas and Ditch Witch corporate headquarters in Perry, Oklahoma. One of the main objectives of The Big Texas Road Show was to make it convenient for customers around Texas to see and operate some of the Ditch Witch organization’s newest and largest equipment in one location.
The Big Texas Road Show was divided into two tours, one in May and one in June. In May, the show’s equipment caravan stopped at Ditch Witch of East Texas in Tyler, Ditch Witch of Houston, Ditch Witch of Central Texas in San Antonio, and Ditch Witch Sales and Service, El Paso. June tour stops were Ditch Witch Southwest in Odessa (on a site where a new Ditch Witch dealership is being built), Ditch Witch of West Texas in Amarillo, and Witch Equipment Company in Fort Worth, the tour’s final stop.
The Big Texas Road Show was a physically demanding and logistically challenging endeavor, but well worth the effort, according to the Ditch Witch organization’s Randy Rupp, who served as the Road Show’s fleet commander. “Each tour lasted roughly two weeks,” said Rupp. “The schedule was tight, but appropriate. We would travel on one day, set up the next, and have the show on the third. Then we’d tear down and do it all over again.”
Four semi trucks were necessary to transport the equipment, which included the RT115 Quad trencher, the PR100 pipe bursting system, the FX60 vacuum excavation system, the HT220 and HT300 heavy-duty track trenchers, and the JT100 Mach 1, JT100 All Terrain and JT4020 All Terrain horizontal directional drills.
Each tour stop was carefully coordinated with a widely promoted dealership open house. Customers and potential customers were invited to come see the equipment and test it, talk with dealership and factory representatives, and have lunch. Customer attendance varied from dealership to dealership—from approximately 35 at the El Paso location to roughly 210 at the new Ditch Witch dealership in Odessa—and included local contractors, rental-store owners and managers, city purchasing agents, and large utility contractors.
At many tour stops, the large directional drills and the pipe bursting system were among the more popular items. The PR100 pipe bursting system caught the attention of many city officials who were considering ways to replace or repair their aging water and sewer lines. They were able to witness the efficient pipe-replacement capability of the PR100, which pulls new pipe through existing pipe without having to dig a trench or disturb surrounding infrastructure.
Because they are designed for efficient drilling in rock, the JT100 All Terrain and JT4020 All Terrain horizontal directional drills were big hits in San Antonio, as well as other locations, because the city has a great deal of rocky soil. During the San Antonio visit, a heavy rainstorm left a large amount of standing water around the demonstration area. “This actually turned out to be good because it gave us the opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of our FX60 [vacuum excavation system],” said Rupp.
Despite the exhausting travel and workload, the occasional setback (a flat tire in a remote area on a Sunday), and temperatures topping 100 degrees during most customer events, Rupp pronounced The Big Texas Road Show “a huge success.”
“Some of the dealerships were initially concerned about the customer turnout, but it was the quality of customer that was most important,” he said. “Busy people do not leave work [to attend these events] unless they are serious about additional equipment needs; the customers who came to see our equipment came with real purchasing in mind. One customer drove four hours to see our show in El Paso.
“Over the course of The Big Texas Road Show we hosted 700 to 800 of these customers. I’d say we were successful with over 700 of the best customers in Texas. There will be customers in Texas talking about this for months to come.”