Another year of heavy lifting occurred in Tonopah with the 2019 Nevada State Mining Championships breezing through during the 49th annual Jim Butler Days celebration.
James Eason, moving one ton of muck into an ore cart with a time of 2:04.54, powered his way to first place in the men’s mucking competition. Eason came in just ahead of Craig Leedy who had a time of 2:06.58 with Matt Decker coming in third with a time of 2:44.06 in the parking lot of the Elks Lodge in Tonopah.
Competitors battled temperatures in the mid- to low-40s during the competition. Rainfall also got things a little wet, which eventually led to some of the competition being canceled.
The top three winners in men’s mucking took home a total prize pool of $700 with cash prizes paid to the top three spots. Six entrants competed in men’s mucking.
A reporter from the Times-Bonanza caught up with third-place finisher Decker prior to the championships getting underway.
“This is one of the competitions to come to,” Decker said.
Decker is planning on stopping at a few more competitions this year.
“We’ll hit a bunch of Colorado’s in July and August and then back up to Reno for the world championships in Carson City,” he said.
Decker said he’s been coming through the area for the event for about 20-plus years, and he takes in the parade and other festivities of Jim Butler Days.
Oz and Lorinda Wichman, named king and queen of Jim Butler Days, made their way down to the mining championships and handed out prizes to some of the winners. Wichman is a Nye County Commissioner from District 1 and a resident of northern Nye County.
Other top events at the mining championships were men’s team mucking and women’s mucking and team mucking.
The top winners for men’s mucking were James Eason and Craig Leedy with a time of 0:48.72, which brought them a cash prize of $200. The next two spots in men’s mucking went to Steve MacDonald and Matt Decker for second and Kelsey Godfrey and Mike Carapos for third.
Team mucking for women had first-place finishers Emma Baker and Joanna Denham with a time of 0:44.53. with the second-place team of Amy Thompson and Hannah Dowers with a time of 1:23.78. The first-place team won $100, with $50 for the second place team.
The third-place team in women’s mucking, Ann Carpenter and Deborah Baker, took home $35.
There were three entrants in the women’s mucking competition.
The top winners were Emma Baker and Katie Jo Williams. Baker took home $200 with her time of 1:06.50, and Williams took home $100 for her time of 3:07.58. A third entrant, Constance Humrick, didn’t finish.
Williams was also at Butler Days for another purpose. She is Ms. Nevada State in the 2019 Ms. America Pageant. The winner of that pageant is set to be named in the fall.
The mining championships have gone on for a century or more, according to information on the Tonopah Mining Park’s website.
This is the 49th year the competition has been held on Memorial Day weekend during Jim Butler Days.
The winner of the men’s single jack competition went to Matt Decker who took home $1,200. Contestants hand drill for an allotted amount of time with the deepest hole winning.
The second-, third- and fourth-place spots had a prize pool of $1,050. Craig Leedy took home $600 for second place, with Tom Donovan taking third with $300. Vern Baker took home $150 for fourth.
Women’s single jack had three entrants and paid the top three spots. Emma Baker took home first place and $500 with Joanna Denham coming in second and taking home $100. Rachel Donovan came in third and won $50.
The men’s double jack competition was canceled because of weather.
Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at firstname.lastname@example.org
A closer look
Check for additional coverage on the 49th annual Jim Butler Days celebration in the Times-Bonanza’s May 30 edition.