There’s excavating, grading, paving, trucking – and Caterpillar yellow everywhere. That’s what you’ll see on a jobsite run by the Veerkamp family business.
This is how the father-son duo of Doug and Matt Veerkamp earn a living.
It’s also their favorite pastime.
Back at their warehouse in Placerville, California, the modern day machines are mixed with marvelous antique equipment. You see tractors with Holt, Best and Caterpillar on the grill – more than 100 years of history – under one roof.
“We have almost every model Caterpillar made,” Matt says excitedly amongst the rows of iridescent white, black, gray, red and of course yellow machines of Caterpillar’s past.
Doug and Matt’s generational journey through Caterpillar began when Matt was barely out of diapers. He would spend day after day at the jobsite with his dad after school got out, bringing his empty lunch pail and toy tractors, and even running equipment by the time he was seven years old.
As their love for the Cat? brand grew, so did their antique machine collection. In all, their fleet is comprised of hundreds of machines, about 80 of which they fully restored and made operational again.
“Caterpillar has always been on the cutting edge of technology and doing these restorations, we always see it – from 1915 all the way to today,” Doug notes. “I just bought a brand new excavator and it seems like every step of the way there’s something new.”
Doug is proud of the construction business he started with his wife, Lori, back in 1983, but he’s even more proud of his son. “Seeing Matt grow up in the tractors and enjoying and loving it even more than I do. He makes the whole thing here at Veerkamp go. He's the man.”
“Yellow blood definitely carries on in this family. Both of my grandfathers ran tractors. On my dad’s side, he was a lifelong mechanic. And on my mom's side, he was a farmer and he had a Caterpillar D2 and disked in the orchards. So, it's always been a part of our family and something I'd always seen growing up,” Matt says of his family’s history with Caterpillar.
Some of the Veerkamp’s world-renowned collection will be on display at the Caterpillar Visitors Center's inaugural Antique Equipment Expo starting June 13. Go to visitcaterpillar.com for more.