By Larry LeMasters
Jacob Heshelman of Williams, Ind., is a fairly normal teenager. In school, he participated in track, basketball and bowling, and he is eager about entering Mitchell High School, as a freshman, this fall.
Perhaps his only unusual behavior is his love of Bobcat model toys. “The first model I remember ever owning was a T-200 Bobcat compact track loader,” the 14-year-old said. “I was very young when my parents bought it for me, and I totally trashed it over time. Most of the models from my childhood met similar fates, but as I’ve begun to seriously collect Bobcat models, I have searched for the models from my childhood. I now have a mint-condition T-200 that I got from the local dealership.”
When he was about 10 years old, Jacob became a serious collector. “My first true collectible model was a die-cast T-200 Bobcat compact track loader, made by Ertl, that Dad purchased from Hopf Equipment in Jasper, Ind. This is the model that replaced my childhood model and that whetted my appetite for collecting and customizing models. I began customizing about two years later.”
Jacob likes the Bobcat company because it is an American-based manufacturer of farm and construction equipment. The company sells skid steer loaders (what most of us consider Bobcats), compact excavators, compact utility vehicles, compact tractors and other small hydraulic equipment under the Bobcat brand name. It is a major manufacturing company operating in North Dakota.
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