The competitors in the annual regional excavator competition, which was held in Napier at the weekend, certainly seem to have put on quite a show with some precision lifting and moving.
If there appears to be admiration in my writing, it is because I have been in the cab of a digger and know that it is not as easy as it may seem.
The funny thing about my stint in a digger is that I had to go to Las Vegas last year to experience it. On the outskirts of the gambling capital of the world, in a dusty paddock, is the most unusual theme park you will ever find. Dig This is the ultimate boys' zone, where you can have some fun with the digger or bulldozer of your choice.
At the end of it all, you get a certificate that says: "It is also hereby recognised that this person, in addition to Digging it, totally Dug it at Dig This."
The thing about Dig This is that it is owned and run by ... yes, you guessed it ... a Kiwi.
Ed Mumm is a 40-something-year-old from Dunedin who lives in Denver, Colorado, and commutes regularly to Las Vegas to keep an eye on his theme park which is attracting more and more tourists.
Dig This is aimed at tourists and companies wanting to take their staff on a team-building exercise, but is open to anyone who wants to jump on a digger and rip some earth ... and is prepared to pay for the experience.
When I did the course, a three-hour session, including three activities on the digger, transfers to and from Vegas and the safety lesson, cost US$400 (about $480), while a mini-dig for an hour and a half, like I did, was US$210. It may seem a bit, but it was worth every penny.
Before anyone goes jumping on a digger or bulldozer, a safety course has to be completed. The paddock you get to dig up is just a stretch of dusty dirt, but it is quite weird to glance over and see the famous Las Vegas skyline just a kilometre or two away. The course is well run, with each person sitting alone in an air-conditioned cab (it is 40C outside) of the digger, while an instructor on the ground (a safe distance away) guides them. You hear the instructor clearly in your headphones and it is quite comforting knowing they are with you.
My instructor, Jerry Wheeler, was a laid-back character - a quality he would require in bucketloads when trying to guide me through a simple set of tasks. The thing with driving a digger is there are so many levers and pedals, to move forwards, backwards, lift the bucket, dig the bucket in, etc, etc.
Once I got the hang of things, it got easier. This was not a game for cowboys. Quick actions and extravagant manoeuvres are discouraged, as is dumping bucketloads of sand from great heights. Despite that, it is quite an amazing experience and well worth trying if you ever are in Las Vegas.