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Kids test mucking, nail driving skills

It was a bit difficult to tell just by talking to him that Josh Reid had competed Sunday at the Nevada State Junior Mining Championships.

He was in the first pair of muckers in the Boys 13-18 division, and his time of 2 minutes, 24.43 seconds won the competition. So what was his secret?

“I don’t know,” he said with a shrug and a smile. “I just shoveled.”

Well, yes. That was the idea. But did he realize that his time was holding up as the event continued?

“I had no clue,” he said. “I didn’t watch the other competitors.”

OK, so he didn’t realize that he was close to winning $100 and the silver coin that went with it. But he did know what he was mucking for, right?

“I knew about the silver coin but didn’t know how much (money),” Reid said.

The silver coin was courtesy of Amy and Bill Dowers, who saw a while back that, while the top three in each division won money, there was no trophy involved in the Junior Mining Championships. Thanks to them, each winner gets a shiny silver coin, fittingly bearing the image of a prospector.

Near the end of his mucking, Reid seemed to wear down and his shoveling slowed.

“I was really tired,” he said afterward. “It didn’t help that I went to the gym yesterday.”

No, Josh, it didn’t. But, sore or not, Reid picked up steam again as he saw his ore cart get close to the finish line. When the mucking was done, his time was 12 seconds better than Hunter Otteson’s and 20 seconds ahead of Samuel Nichols’.

But he must have a plan to spend the prize money.

“Don’t know,” he said. “Probably spend it, just splurge when we go to the beach in California.”

Looking more like a surfer than a mucker, especially compared to his closest competitors — Otteson placed fourth in the discus at the NIAA Class 3A Track and Field Southern Regional Championships and has a personal best of 32 feet, 3.5 inches in the shot put — that seemed like a logical choice. But Reid had mucking experience.

“I did it once, years ago as a little kid,” he said, recalling a much smaller ore cart to fill. “I think I lost, by a lot.”

A bit later, Reid competed simultaneously with his brother, Eric, in the nail driving competition. Like Otteson, Eric looked the part more than Josh did, and he also has the record to show for it. Eric Reid finished second in discus and third in shot put at the 1A Southern Regional meet and owns a personal best of 34-8 in the shot put.

But it was Josh — who plays football, basketball and baseball — who came out ahead with a time of 14.97 seconds, just more than 4 seconds better than Eric’s 19.03. But Otteson beat them both, finishing his nail in 11.22.

Another but much younger veteran of the junior championships is Carson Grigory, who at 7 years old already had a mucking title to his name. He sheepishly admitted that he “kind of” expected to win again, and he did just that.

With his long hair flying, Grigory shoveled furiously to fill his ore cart in 29.47 seconds, edging runner-up Kyler Otteson’s 32.72. Unlike his older counterpart, Grigory had a strategy.

“I only got the big scoops,” he said. “I always try to go down and get big scoops. Me and my brother love going outside in our front yard. We always start to dig, and we try to make a lot of cool things.”

Also pretty cool were the $5 and silver coin he won for his effort.

The junior mining championships were hosted by the Central Nevada Grange, and organizers thanked Bill and Amy Dowers and Eason Insurance for their support.

While the mining contests were going on at the Elks Lodge, Joe Friel Sports Complex was hosting a second day of horseshoes competition. Saturday brought a singles tournament sanctioned by the Nevada State Horseshoe Pitching Association, while a more casual, unsanctioned doubles tournament was on the agenda Sunday.

The tournaments drew pitchers from Tonopah, Pahrump, Mount Charleston, Las Vegas and Reno as well as Kingman, Arizona and Bishop, California.

“The event was a big success compared to two years ago when we only had maybe about 10 players and it wasn’t sanctioned,” NSHPA President Lathan Dilger said.

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