Two towing companies had already made the attempt but couldn’t manage the job down in northern Iowa.
Luckily word of mouth had traveled that far (and farther) about a Madelia company, Maloney Enterprises, that had invented a Bobcat winching attachment for particularly big and stubborn projects like the one at hand — towing a loaded cement truck stuck in a ditch.
Many folks looking at Matt Maloney’s little Bobcat might scoff at the idea that it could possibly take on a job of that size. But that’s only until they see it in action, he said.
“This is the best money we have ever spent,” Maloney said.
Built in-house, the machine anchors itself into the ground as it’s winching the cable back onto the attachment. It plows into the ground and finds the hard dirt, providing the stability needed to slowly tow massive, heavy vehicles out from where they’re stuck. The device works on vehicles ranging in size from motorcycles to loaded 18-wheelers, Maloney said.
Maloney got the idea from seeing smaller versions at shows and conventions. But working in America’s heartland, he needed something more robust.
“Smaller ones are more meant for just cars,” he said. “We wanted something more unique and a lot bigger scale for going after farm equipment.”
Farmers who have combines or field sprayers with 6-foot-tall tires stuck in the mud are calling Maloney to bring out his little Bobcat to get them unstuck. They like Maloney’s device for a couple of reasons: It’s cheaper than paying a company to bring out huge, heavy trucks that take longer to do the job; and the Bobcat can more stealthily drive through the fields without tearing up valuable crops.
Maloney’s peers in the towing industry also are impressed with the machine. Maloney took Best in Show and Most Innovative awards at the Wisconsin Tow Show Father’s Day weekend at the Dells. Maloney’s machine was competing against about 125 other pieces of equipment.
In addition to four trucks used for towing and recovery at his 24-hour business, Maloney has two of the Bobcats with attachments. He’s already had requests from others to build one for them, but then, that wouldn’t be very good for business.
“We’ve used them quite often this spring because of how wet it’s been,” he said.
Maloney still thinks it’s amusing when people say, “There’s no way you can get that out,” when they see the Bobcat coming.
“I say, ‘You got it stuck. It’s my job to get it unstuck,’” he said. “The first time we took it out I bet the guy $20 that it’ll come out within an hour. … Quickest $20 I ever made.”