Dozer Day a family affair

Event organizer’s children provide ideas, assistance for kids event with construction equipment

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter


Updated: May 17, 2013, 4:47 PM


If you go

What: Dozer Day, a fairlike event where kids get to ride and drive heavy construction equipment, play in a pipe tunnel and dig for diamonds.

Where: Cemex/Fisher Quarry, on the west side of Northeast 192nd Avenue and Brady Road intersection. Visitors are encouraged to take C-Tran from the Northeast 164th Street Park & Ride to the event. The bus costs $2, and riders will get a free souvenir.

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday .

Cost: At the gate, $8 for children ages 2-12 and seniors age 55 and older, $10 for adults, and free for kids under 2. Most events are free with admission. Bring cash for food and drink. No ATM on site.

Information: Nutter Foundation

photoJaden Zollbrecht, 5, of Damascus, Ore., runs toward a pipe maze set up for children during last year’s Dozer Day fundraiser at the Cemex/Fisher Quarry. The event draws about 20,000 visitors each year.

(/The Columbian)

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photoRenee Nutter runs the Nutter Foundation, while her husband, Jerry, runs Nutter Corp. The company was founded by Jerry's father, Ted Nutter, who is deceased.


Ranee Nutter relies on some expert help as she plans the kids construction playground that is Dozer Day.

Each year, her two children — Jerry, 16, and Sammi, 13 — help her create new attractions at the two-day event, she said.

“They come to me all the time with great ideas,” Nutter said. “They thought of the scavenger hunt. Who better to plan a big kid’s party than a kid?”

Dozer Day, in its ninth year, draws about 20,000 people over the weekend.

About 900 volunteers and a host of local companies take kids on dump truck rides, show them how to run equipment and build pipe tunnel playgrounds for them.

This year, new activities include picking up a trash can with a Waste Connections truck and shooting a ball into a barrel with a pressure washer.

The Nutter Foundation, a charitable arm of Nutter Corp., has been running Dozer Day for the past six years.

“Originally the Parks Foundation (of Clark County) ran Dozer Day and Nutter Corp. was on the board, but the Parks Foundation said they couldn’t afford it anymore, so we took it over,” Nutter said. “Once I got started on it, I thought, ‘I am ­going to give back $1 million through this in 10 years’ — and the exciting thing is, I’m on track to do it.”

The event collects about $100,000 each year, which the foundation gives out as grants for children’s groups. The grants are small, capping out at about $5,000, and pay for things such as playground equipment, toys and parks in Clark County.

“There’s a lot of needs in our community, and we’re trying to address those needs,” she said.

Nutter also uses Jerry and Sammi to help choose from the grant proposals submitted to the foundation at each year.

“I like to use this event to teach them about the importance of philanthropy and giving back to the community,” Nutter said.

The kids also volunteer to work at Dozer Day, helping with the accounting and sales.

“The thing that we like most about helping my mom with Dozer Day is the day of the event, seeing the families all together enjoying an event that we helped plan,” the two said in an email interview. “We also enjoy giving grants, especially bringing toys to places and seeing their expressions when they get some new toys and how special it makes them feel.”

Nutter Corp. celebrated its 20th year in business this spring. It was founded by the late Ted Nutter and his son, Jerry Nutter, who is Ranee Nutter’s husband. Jerry runs the company, while Renee runs the foundation, she said.

And while it’s a lot of work, Nutter said putting on Dozer Day is also a heck of a lot of fun.

“Seeing all the smiles on the kids’ faces — that makes it all worth it,” she said.

Sue Vorenberg: 360-735-4457;;