‘Extreme Sandbox' Lets People Play With Heavy Machinery

Extreme Sandbox, a company that lets ordinary folks play with 25-ton construction equipment, held a grand-opening party Thursday near Lake Texoma.

The business has been operating successfully in Minnesota for the last four years, but founder Randy Stenger wanted to open a second location in North Texas near the Tanglewood Resorts in Pottsboro.

"I have three boys. We were driving by a construction site four of five years ago in Minnesota and my kids were like, 'Dad, wouldn’t it be great to go play on that stuff?'" Stenger said. "And I was like, 'Heck yeah, it would!'"

Stegner said Texas was an easy choice for expansion after they learned so many people from the state had flown to Minnesota specifically to play with their heavy equipment.

Extreme Sandbox allows people aged 14-and-up to dig, excavate, drive, and play on 25-ton excavators, bulldozers, and skid steers.

"That’s exactly what we’re trying to do, capture that inner child," Stenger said. "Customers tell us their faces hurt from smiling so much. That's what we're hoping for."

Before you're turned loose, there is about 25 minutes of classroom instruction  and all customers wear a wireless headset to communicate with an instructor who maintains a watchful eye and guides the activities.

"We’re there guiding you through it, but you’re in the cab alone doing it by yourself," Stenger said. "So we have a lot of safety measures in place, but it’s really a sense of accomplishment to show people they can do it by themselves."

After a recent appearance on the popular show Shark Tank, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban expressed interested in investing in the business. Stenger said the discussions are ongoing but have been very productive so far.

It costs about $200 for an individual for an hour; Rates are cheaper for large groups.

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