Highgraders Holiday at new Ouray Miner’s Park this weekend

Highgrader's Holiday

Highgraders Holiday co-organizer Steve Martinez drills a test hole into a San Juan Tuff boulder using a 125-pound jack leg. The jack leg drilling contest requires competitors to drive a three-foot length of steel into two numbered squares on two different boulders. The event takes place this weekend in Ouray.

Courtesy photo

by Mary Menz

Imagine holding a carbon steel stake straight while your partner swings an eight to 12-pound sledge hammer to drive it into the rock being drilled. The hole needs to be deep enough to hold a stick of dynamite, so it takes multiple swings to drive different lengths of stake into the rock. The one swinging the hammer is the “driller.” The one holding the stake is the “shaker,” for good reason. Both require nerves of steel, because one wrong move and the contest is over for them.
The double-jack event is just one of the mining skills competitions at this weekend’s Highgraders Holiday.
The competitions take place...


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