From Obstacles to Oasis: Julie Rummer Wins $25,000 Bobcat Backyard Makeover

Published on May 1, 2024

After a tragic accident left Julie Rummer dependent on a wheelchair, accessibility became a huge factor in her day-to-day life. Winning the Bobcat Backyard Makeover Contest transformed Julie's backyard from an impassible space of dirt and overgrown vegetation to an accessible oasis with concrete paths, renewing her passion for the outdoors. With the help of Bobcat® equipment from her local dealer and area contractors, Julie’s dream backyard became a reality.

When Bobcat offered equipment fans a shot at a backyard makeover worth $25,000 in the Bobcat Backyard Makeover Contest, Julie Rummer of Turlock, California, recognized a chance to kick-start her dream of a wheelchair-accessible backyard with room to garden, entertain and get away.  

But it was only a chance. Just another dream. Lucky for Julie, Bobcat knows a thing or two about turning dreams into reality. 

The finalists were chosen. The votes were tallied. And the backyard was built. Now, Bobcat is happy to report that Julie Rummer and her family have a beautiful new backyard to enjoy.  

Julie’s dream backyard is more than a lawn or a place to relax. It’s a source of pride and empowerment. The team at Bobcat is thrilled that we could help her achieve it.  

In 1995, Julie survived a horrific car accident that left her dependent on a power wheelchair. Over the years, she has dug deep to overcome many obstacles. She settled in the great Central Valley of California to find a better climate for wheelchair accessibility. Even so, her backyard, was, as she described it, a “big disaster.”  

Some areas were inaccessible, and more than once she found herself literally spinning her wheels, stuck in dirt and thorny vegetation. “I’ve gotten stuck, stuck up to my axles,” Julie says. “Like almost needing a Bobcat loader to pull me out!”  

The abundant dusty soil also caused issues for her wheelchair, which attracted dirt and weeds that found their way into Julie’s home.  

A Contest Entry Plants a Seed of Possibility

Julie’s daily limitations drift away while gardening. She desired a completely wheelchair-accessible yard and dream garden – so she could pursue her passion and enjoy more time in the sun. Julie and her husband, Rich, also love to entertain family, friends and neighbors at their home. While they often dreamt of making improvements to their yard, the time and money to make it happen just weren’t there.   

Enter Bobcat and the $25,000 Backyard Makeover. In the Bobcat Backyard Makeover Contest, one lucky winner – the top vote earner among five finalists – would receive $25,000 toward the ultimate backyard.  

Rich found out about the contest first. “I kept seeing it on my Facebook feed, and we’ve always wanted to do something with this area,” he says. “I kept egging Julie on, like ‘Hey, you need to enter this!’” 

With Rich’s encouragement, Julie submitted her contest application, but she didn’t get her hopes up. “Usually when there’s sweepstakes involved, you just kind of put it in your back pocket,” Julie says. “You don’t really expect anything to come of it.” 

From the back pocket to social media, something did come of it. Julie’s story was chosen as a finalist entry, and her community rallied to show their support. The local media even got involved, covering her finalist entry in the Turlock Journal. All told, close friends, family and total strangers helped Julie win the grand prize with more than 50% of the total votes. 

"One morning over coffee, my husband throws the iPad on my lap," Julie says, recalling the day she found out about her win. "I could see it was a picture that we took of me, and I was just shocked."  

The Backyard Moves Forward 

After Julie's win, she and her family got to work planning their backyard makeover. A large concrete path was the centerpiece of Julie’s dream backyard. It provided an easy-to-travel path for reaching every corner. Julie's family and friends completed a large amount of the prep work with an old Bobcat 763 skid-steer loader. This helped to provide a solid launch for a major project, enabling professional contractors to hit the ground running.  

Bobcat, along with a local dealer, Bobcat Central, Inc., brought in an MT100 mini track loader, which was ideal for completing work in the fenced-in area.  

Julie’s son, Jeremy Bundy, was eager to join the project and get hands-on with preparations (along with operating Bobcat equipment). Some of Jeremy’s early childhood memories involve Julie’s green thumb and the abundant bounties from her past gardening projects. He couldn’t wait for his mom to get more space to reignite her passion for plants – and to upgrade future family gatherings.

After we get this project all complete, my mom is going to have full access to the whole yard, which is going to be awesome. I've got two older brothers. We often get into shenanigans during our get-togethers, so it's going to be nice for her to be able to be a part of that.

Jeremy Bundy

Julie Rummer’s Son

Tree removal, relocation and planting took place before the concrete installation. Next came the prep work for the new wheelchair-accessible surface. This included demolition and removal of an existing patio, which made room for a new ramp that the Rummers would need for their back door. Next came forms, stakes and other preparations for the concrete pour. 

Finish landscaping included a water and irrigation system, new drought-tolerant plants, compost, and fertilizer. New cedar mulch was placed to prevent weeds and hold moisture during the summer. 

After additional lighting, a fire pit, sound system and other items were installed, the job was done. Now Julie has more space to grow – a blank canvas where she can chase down new dreams of grand gardens, recreation, relaxation and family fun.

I appreciate everybody's vote, their positive vibes and anything they've extended to help me land this contest. I've been brought to tears so much over this last month … the kindness, the love, the support from family, friends, neighbors and total strangers that, you know, after this many years, it's just filled my heart.

Julie Rummer

Bobcat Backyard Makeover Winner

A special thank you goes out to HIS Tree Service for tree removal, relocation and planting, Ultimate Concrete for the concrete work, and The Greenery Nursery for its water and irrigation system installation and landscaping. 

More Recent Stories

View All Stories
Shades of Green Nursery Unites Community with Bobcat Equipment Shades of Green Nursery Assistant Manager Julie Holland Uses a Bobcat MT100 Mini Track Loader to Transport Bags of Mulch

Shades of Green Nursery Unites Community with Bobcat Equipment

At Shades of Green Nursery, founder Julie Holland uses Bobcat equipment to unite the community in Celina, Texas with inclusive gardening practices that support the local ecosystem.
JJC Tree Services LLC Grows with Bobcat Equipment A Bobcat Compact Track Loader With Grapple Works Near a Lineup of Tall Trees

JJC Tree Services LLC Grows with Bobcat Equipment

John Shreaves of JJC Tree Services LLC launched and grew his business with his Bobcat compact track loaders and attachments to help him accomplish more.
Bobcat and RADshare Partner for Youth BMX Opportunities Children on BMX Bikes Line Up on a Dirt Track Built by Bobcat and RADshare

Bobcat and RADshare Partner for Youth BMX Opportunities

Bobcat Company is supporting co-founders Steve Crandall and Nate Hanger of RADshare with Bobcat Equipment to provide opportunities for the youth to dive into the world of BMX.
Julie Rummer – Bobcat $25k Backyard Makeover Winner Julie and Rich Rummer in Their Newly Renovated Backyard

Julie Rummer – Bobcat $25k Backyard Makeover Winner

After a tragic accident Julie Rummer's backyard was inaccessible and now thanks to Bobcat’s backyard makeover contest, it is an oasis, reigniting her outdoor passion.
Bobcat Leasing Program Provides Reliability for GBH Enterprises Brad and Giovanna Hull Pose for Selfie at Sunset

Bobcat Leasing Program Provides Reliability for GBH Enterprises

Reliability and appearances are important on high-profile jobs. That’s why GBH Enterprises chooses two-year leases to ensure a modern fleet for every project.
A Favor with Bobcat Loader Launches Family Business Bobcat S510 Skid-Steer Loader Being Delivered to Jobsite

A Favor with Bobcat Loader Launches Family Business

Discover how a favor for a friend, hooked Ken Cavendish on Bobcat machines and he turned that passion into a booming business in New York City.
Bobcat Joystick Controls Enable Mario Coss’ Dream Mario Coss Operates a Bobcat E42 Compact Excavator on a Jobsite

Bobcat Joystick Controls Enable Mario Coss’ Dream

Bobcat machines with joystick controls enabled Mario Coss to fulfill his dream to be a business owner, even after a crash that changed his life in an instant.
Bobcat Equipment Powers Regenerative Farming at Blufftop Farm Check Family Standing in Front of Cattle on Blufftop Farm

Bobcat Equipment Powers Regenerative Farming at Blufftop Farm

Discover how a single Bobcat skid-steer loader provides all the power needed for regenerative farming practices by the Check Family at Blufftop Farm in Wisconsin.
Bobcat Toolcat Purchase Inspires Bobcat-Style Bed Dash on His Bobcat Skid-Steer Inspired Bed

Bobcat Toolcat Purchase Inspires Bobcat-Style Bed

When the Kowalonek family purchased their Bobcat Toolcat utility work machine, it created inspiration for a Bobcat-style bed to overcome a bedtime challenge.
Bobcat Equipment Grows Indiana Couple’s Outdoor Business Andrea & Ben Mohr with Bobcat T595 Compact Track Loader at Jobsite

Bobcat Equipment Grows Indiana Couple’s Outdoor Business

Discover how a Bobcat compact track loader helped Andrea and Benjamin Mohr grow their business from small landscaping projects to a full-service outdoor business.

What’s Your Bobcat Story?

Taking on big, ambitious challenges is what being One Tough Animal® is all about. Tell us how Bobcat empowers or inspires you to accomplish more. Whether it’s at work, at play or in life, share your story with us.

Share Your Story