OURAY – Crowds thrilled to an impressive display of machinery and muscle at Miner’s Park in Ouray last weekend at the annual Highgraders Holiday mining contest.
The event drew a small but deep field of professional miners, including many from the San Juan Mountains and other mining districts in Colorado, and some from as far afield as Nevada, Wyoming and Arizona.
For the third year in a row, Nevada miner Steve McDonald took home the coveted Best All-Around Miner title and the $500 cash prize that goes with it. The title goes to the miner who accumulates the most points in multiple events throughout the two-day contest.
The notorious Carpenter brothers of Creede showed up to vie for the Double Jacking title in which partners take turns swinging an eight-pound hammer to sink a drill steel into granite. But they were bested in their efforts by Nederland-ites Jesse Patridge and Emmett Hoyle who took first place in that grueling event.
Hoyle and Partridge were also the men to beat in the Single Jacking contest, taking first and second place respectively. Powered by mental toughness and unsurpassed physical brawn, Hoyle sunk his drill steel in impressive 10 inches into the rock, within the time limit – a personal best.
Locals shone in the Team Drilling event, with Ouray natives Eric and Kyle Shoenebaum (a father/son team) taking first place and Amos and Clifford Jaramillo of Silverton coming in second.
Highgraders Holiday organizer and Ouray native son Bumper Williams was particularly impressed with Patricia Capistrant’s effort in the women’s Single Jacking contest. She sunk her drill 4 3/4 inches into the rock – two inches deeper than her closest competitor. “That young girl can swing a hammer!” he said.
Williams was pleased with the turnout for this year’s Highgraders Holiday. “We had 19 competitors in the single-man drilling, and 10 teams for machine drilling, and a lot of folks in the mucking machine,” he said.
One thing that sweetens the draw is the prize money; this year Highgraders Holiday doled out $8,000 in cash prizes. The money comes from local sponsorships as well as entry fees.
Highgraders Holiday is the last hoorah of the summer season on the mining contest circuit. And because the event was discontinued for several years prior to being resurrected four years ago, it is still fairly small compared to similar contests in other parts of the state.
“We grow a little bit every year,” Williams said. “We’ll make this thing into the Super Bowl yet.”
As Highgraders Holiday grows, so does local enthusiasm for the event – particularly now that there is somewhat of a mining renaissance happening in the area.
“There were a lot of people down there you don’t normally see – a lot of the locals,” Williams said. “It was fun.”
Overall results from the 2012 Highgraders Holiday
Best All-Around Miner:
1st: Jesse Patridge and Emmett Hoyle
2nd: Jeff and Kyle Carpenter
3rd: Greg Holford and Steve McDonald
1st: Eric and Kyle Shoenebaum
2nd: Amos and Clifford Jaramillo
3rd: Harley Gardner and Rick Ernst
Men’s Hand Mucking:
1st: Steve McDonald
2nd: Jesse Patridge
3rd: Emmett Hoyle
Women’s Hand Mucking:
1st: Dorothy McCarthy
2nd: Amy Hill
3rd: Stephanie Haynes
Single Man Drilling:
1st: Clifford Jaramillo
2nd: Aaron Calhoon
3rd: Rick Ernst
Women’s Spike Driving:
1st: Amy Hill
2nd: Jenna Bokken
3rd: Patricia Capishant
Men’s Spike Driving:
1st: Jesse Patridge
2nd: Steve McDonald
3rd: Clifford Jaramillo
Women’s Single Jacking:
1st: Patricia Capistrant
2nd: Jenna Bokken
3rd: Paige Cybluski
Men’s Single Jacking:
1st: Emmett Hoyle
2nd: Jesse Patridge
3rd: Steve McDonald
1st: Roy Andrean
2nd: Terry Rhoades
3rd: Bobby Gallegos
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