Temperatures as low as -22°F (-30°C). Winds as high as 65 mph (105 kph). And only four hours of daylight in which to work. Even conditions this extreme couldn’t stop a professional strongman, a Cat® Dozer operator, more than 300 Icelanders and a film crew from pulling off an epic man-versus-machine tug of war.
“The Making of Tug of War” takes you behind the scenes of the latest edition of the Built For It™ Trials, a series of Caterpillar short films. It follows the action as Hafthor “Thor” Bjornsson — a native of Iceland and winner of the 2015 Europe’s Strongest Man competition, attempts to pull a 77-ton D10T Dozer with a rope. Thor, who currently stars in a popular TV series, also placed third in 2015’s World’s Strongest Man.
“He was huge,” says Curtis Nixon, the Caterpillar demonstrator instructor who manned the dozer’s controls during the tug of war. “He’s the biggest man I’ve ever been next to.”
Deanna Dean, brand promotions coordinator for Global Brand Marketing, explains that Caterpillar chose to film “Tug of War” at a site about 30 miles outside of Reykjavik, Iceland, because of that region’s great strongman tradition—and also because of its extreme climate.
“You never knew what the weather would bring,” she says. “We wanted to show the extreme conditions our machines work in every day.”
According to Archie Lyons, creative director for Global Brand Marketing, the company also wanted to show how an iconic Cat machine would perform in those conditions—pitting a tractor that typically moves mountains against a mountain of a man.
“We wanted to go back to our roots since it’s our 90th anniversary this year, so we looked at a classic machine that really started the company,” he says. “We wanted to put the legendary track-type tractor to the test.”
Watch “The Making of Tug of War” to see how Thor and his countrymen and women ultimately bested the weather and the Cat Dozer—with a little help from the man behind the controls.