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And then he really shocked us by trying to tip over his machine! To see it yourself, click here for video! (1m43s) I figured there must have been alcohol involved with coming up with doing some And then he really shocked us by trying to tip over his machine!

To see it yourself,
click here for video! (1m43s)

I figured there must have been alcohol involved with coming up with doing something like this at first, but I was wrong. I found an article by the Telegraph interviewing him. I shall paste it here in case that link ever goes away, since it's so interesting:

We are all familiar with the sight of those distinctive yellow JCB diggers with a shovel on the front and a back-acting scoop on the rear, carving out trenches on building sites, cleaning out ditches on the sides of our roads, shuffling the rubbish at our tips and mucking out the cow sheds and stables on our farms.

But have you ever seen a digger dance? Well I hadn't until I went to the Corvette Club's annual show at Huntingdon Racecourse, near Cambridge, a few weeks ago and saw Wilf Bown rockin' and rollin' his JCB to the beat of "Good golly Miss Molly", "Rock around the clock" and "Great Balls of Fire".

Folk looked on in disbelief as the machine reared up on its back wheels and spun around like a whirling Dervish.

Then, with front and back buckets planted, the JCB arched skywards lifting all four wheels, it's rears some eight feet off the ground with the cab precariously tilted at 45 degrees.

The crowd were enthralled as Wilf prepared for his finale. With the rear arm extended at right angles to the cab, he started tilting the machine over sideways, onto two wheels. Over and over he went, seemingly defying gravity.

As in a pantomime, Wilf emerged from his cab and shouted to his audience "Do you want me to lean over some more?" before cupping his hand to his ear and waiting for a reply. Bellows of "More, more" were returned by grown men and cheery little boys alike.

Bracing himself inside the cockpit, Wilf tipped the machine way past the point of apparent no return to a great round of applause. Impressive stuff!

When I caught up with him after his performance he told me that he is completely self-taught. "I've lived in the same place at Ashover in Derbyshire all my life.

"I've driven tractors and diggers for some 40 years and at the weekends I do this for a hobby because I enjoy going to shows, talking to lots of different people and giving people pleasure."

It all started about twenty years ago when Wilf took his JCB along to a summer fete at the school attended by his three young children.

"I pinned a balloon to the floor and the kids tried to burst it using the back bucket" he said.

"Then I tipped it over a bit and lifted it up a bit and they all loved it". A few local shows followed but then in 2004 Wilf was invited to the popular Elvaston Steam Rally in Derby.

"That took me back a bit and because there were going to be a lot of people there I thought I ought to be a bit more professional, so I put some music together and worked out a routine.

"It went down a storm and has snowballed from there even though I never advertise. It's all been through word of mouth. I'll only ever use a JCB. I'm a JCB man through and through, although I have nothing to do with them at all.

"People don't believe me but it's a completely standard machine with no modifications whatsoever and it is the same one I use every day for work. They will and often do tip over but I've never tipped a machine over in my life."

Wilf now performs at 16 or 17 shows a year, mainly within 115-mile radius of his home so that he can drive his JCB to them. He had driven the 110 miles to Huntingdon, avoiding motorways, at a steady 27mph and camped overnight on site.

He said "Well, people drive four or five hours in a car to go to a show, so to me it's no different. To hire a lorry would cost a lot of money and I don't want to put that expense onto peoples' shows.

"I'm only a farming lad from off the hills. I like simple pleasures and enjoy everything I do in life. I'm pretty laid back and don't take this too seriously. It's all a bit of fun."

Well, then! The music would have made it much better - I do wonder why there wasn't any this day. It wasn't really dancing without music. Ah, well. Still entertaining, though!

Wilf Bown's Dancing Digger, Hayfield Country Show, 18 Sept 2010


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