King of the hardrock

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Photo by CHANSE WATSON/ Galena miner Aaron White lines up his drill during the jackleg event at the mining competition last Saturday.

OSBURN – In an region that prides itself on its professional and tough miners, the debate of “who is the best miner in the Silver Valley” has to have been had more than once. Although that question can probably never truly be answered, the local mining contest in Osburn can possibly give us an idea.

On Aug. 4, some of the most talented miners in the Silver Valley and beyond gathered at Gene Day Park for the 31st Annual Coeur d’Alene District Mining Contest to show off their skills in a variety of mining related events.

Guy Sande, the Coeur d’Alene District Mining Contest Committee Secretary, explains that the male portion of the competition includes 4 primary solo events: 12B Machine Mucking, Hand Mucking, Spike Driving, and Single Jackleg. There is also a Team Jackleg event.

Competitors who sign up for all four solo events are eligible to win the title of “All-Around Miner,” which recognizes the miner who places highest in all four events combined. Points corresponding to their final placing in an event are added together at the end of the competition and the individual with the lowest score is declared the winner.

This year’s title went to Dan Clark, who finished with 11 total points. Clark took first place in 12B Machine Mucking with a finishing time of 0:54.14 and Spike Driving with a finishing time of 0:52.65.

Vince Lee was barely the runner-up to Clark for the title, finishing with 12 total points. Lee took first place in Hand Mucking with a finishing time of 1:10.55.

The team of Rich Baldwin and Aaron White walked away with first place in Team Jackleg, finishing in 2:19.69.

Women participants go head-to-head in separate Hand Mucking and Spike Driving events. Only two women participated this year and they ended up splinting the events. Jeanna Anderson took Hand Mucking with a 1:13.20 time and Nadine Clark took Spike Driving with a 0:33.34 time.

Kids are invited to compete in Hand Mucking and Spike Driving as well and are awarded silver coins, as well as cash prizes.

This year’s participant numbers were down compared to previous years, but the weather provided cooler temperatures to those who did come– which allowed competitors and spectators to work and watch comfortably.

“Competitor numbers were down somewhat due to current low mining employment, but the weather cooperated wonderfully with cooler temperatures than earlier in the week,” Sande said. “The crowd, kids, and competitors all seemed to have as much fun as those of us on the committee who organize the day did. It truly is a great family day in a wonderful location at Gene Day Park in Osburn.”

Historically, competitors primarily come from the local mines, but out-of-state competitors from Nevada, Montana, Oregon or Alaska have also been know to attend.

The event itself began in 1984 to commemorate the Wallace Centennial and has been consistently supported by the community in its active years.

“Many local mining contests had been held sporadically in various locations before then, but our founder Lavon Faussett, organized local mining professionals into a committee to hold an annual event which contestants could plan around.” Sande said. “With the exception of a few years in the mid 1990’s when mining was in particularly bad shape, 31 contests have been held annually. The prize money is donated by the local mining companies as well as international mining vendors and suppliers.”

With this years competition in the books, the Contest Committee is thankful to those who supported the competition and are already looking to next year.

“Tremendous thanks are due to local sponsors such as Northwest Mine Supply, Building Maintenance, the Faussett Group, and of course the Galena, Sunshine and Lucky Friday mines,” Sande said. “Despite the low turnout this year, the mining professionals who work through the summer to make the contest happen are already firmly committed to doing it yet again next year on Aug. 3, the first Saturday of the month, as we always have.”

The 2018 Coeur d’Alene District Mining Contest top finalists are as follows

Information is organized by placing, name, employer, and points or finishing time:

All Around Miner:

1st- Dan Clark, Nadine Clark, 11 total points.

2nd- Vince Lee, F&H Mine, 12 total points.

3rd- Justyn Palmer, Hollister, 20 total points.

12B Machine Mucking:

1st- Dan Clark, Nadine Clark, 0:54.14.

2nd- Byron Bratton, Lucky Friday, 0:54.95.

3rd- John Weinkauf, Galena, 0:58.83.

Hand Mucking:

1st- Vince Lee, F&H Mine, 1:10.55.

2nd- Travis Medrano, Redpath, 1:20.80.

3rd- Dan Clark, Nadine Clark, 1:24.60.


1st- Byron Bratton, Lucky Friday, 2:15.83.

2nd- Vince Lee, F&H Mine, 2:17.41.

3rd- Rich Baldwin, Lucky Friday, 2:18.28.

Spike Driving:

1st- Dan Clark, Nadine Clark, 0:52.65.

2nd- Corey Reed, Galena, 0:58.45.

3rd- Vince Lee, F&H Mine, 1:08.28.

Team Jackleg:

1st- Rich Baldwin and Aaron White, 2:19.69.

2nd- Vince Lee and Byron Bratton, 2:22.50.

3rd- Travis Medrano and Dan Clark, 2:32.32.

Women’s Mucking:

1st- Jeanna Anderson, Hayman’s, 1:13.20.

2nd- Nadine Clark, Dan Clark, 1:20.65.

Women’s Spike Driving:

1st- Nadine Clark, Dan Clark, 0:33.34.

2nd- Jeanna Anderson, Hayman’s, 1:18.56.

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