POTTSBORO, Texas – Tanglewood Resort on the shores of Lake Texoma is a relaxing spot for Texans to take a load off. A chance to get away from the hustle and bustle and constant construction of Big D – that is, until you run across what looks like the resort breaking ground on a new facility, or is it?
Randy Stenger doesn’t look like a typical construction worker and that’s because he’s not.
“Extreme Sandbox is a heavy equipment adventure company that lets clients play on construction equipment,” said Stenger. “Funny thing is that most people think I was a contractor by trade and I go no, I’m actually, I’m a big kid at heart.”
Who doesn’t remember playing with their big Tonka trucks as a kid – heck, some of us still do. But here, you get to try the real thing. Stenger actually came up with this heavy lifting idea thanks to spark lit by his kids.
“I have three boys and years ago we were driving by a construction site and my oldest at the time – must have been eight or nine – he was like, Dad, wouldn’t it be fun to go play on that stuff? I’m like, heck yeah it would! And so that’s really where the idea came for Extreme Sandbox,” Stenger said.
Stenger opened his first Extreme Sandbox in a faraway land called Minnesota and tons of Texans were taking the trip all the way north just to toggle the controls of these tall order tools. That’s when Stenger had an Texas -sized thought.
“Texas was our number one out-of-state market to Minnesota to come play on construction equipment. So, that was when the first light bulb went off. If people are actually going to fly across the country to do our thing, I’m like maybe we need to move down there,” said Stenger.
If such a monstrous idea, the whole concept had to be clearly constructed to those who didn’t know what exactly the Extreme Sandbox is, but Tanglewood didn’t get tongue-tied when it came to their enthusiasm for this unique tourist attraction.
“Tanglewood approached us,” Stenger said. “It’s a beautiful resort. They have a lot of area up here, so they’re looking to bring new attractions and things for their guests to do.”
First you choose between six full-time pieces of equipment. Visitors select between two excavators, two bulldozers, and two wheel loaders. After some training, Stenger guides you through some tasks and then lets you loose. Who knew construction equipment could be so captivating?
“We hear ‘Wow’ is probably the number one response,” said Stenger. “They have new appreciation for what these guys do for a living, because they drive by this stuff every day, so it’s really cool that we’re able to give that bucket list experience to our clients to see
So get your inner construction worker to work at a work site well worth punching the clock for – the Extreme Sandbox.
“Everyone’s got things,” Stenger said. “I don’t want things, I want experiences. So, a big piece with me – and I think it’s a common theme now – is people will try to travel more and will try to do things. The beauty of this being in Texas now, we’re able to give that opportunity to the masses here in Texas. They don’t have to fly across the country now, they can come here and operate this state-of-the-art Komatsu equipment and basically something they’d never get to experience, we give them that opportunity.”