Colorado School of Mines Students Bring Home the Gold

As appearing in The Gold Nugget, May 2007
by a CSM Student

On March 23-24, 2007, the University of Arizona, Tucson, hosted the 29th Annual International Collegiate Mining Competition. The competition is dedicated to miners who have lost their lives in the mining industry, specifically the Sunshine Mine in Idaho.

This year's competition had 25 teams from four countries, competing in four divisions. The Colorado School of Mines sent two teams, a men's team and a coed team. The other divisions are women's and alumni. The teams drove from Golden to Tucson on Thursday and stayed in the competition hotel. Friday was spent practicing and getting acquainted with the competition equipment and other competitors. The CSM teams also toured the UA student mine San Xavier. The mine was an active copper mine until the late 50's.

Friday night's entertainment was a student mixer allowing students from different universities and countries to mingle and meet one another. An unscientific survey revealed that Thermodynamics class is the most hated and difficult required engineering class, around the globe.

Saturday morning started a day of competition. The competition is seven events: speed panning, surveying, Swede saw, jackleg drilling, track stand, hand steeling, and hand mucking. Each event has its roots in different daily chores of a miner's life. The speed panning is a five-person event; the time of each team member is added together to compile the team's total time. Flattened steel shot was used, as the "gold" and gravel subbase was the panning medium. With a lot of splashed water the coed team had a respectable time at 26 minutes.

Surveying is a two-person event, using a vintage engineer's transit to survey in and calculate the X, Y and Z coordinates of an unknown point.

Swede sawing is a team relay event. A 6 inch by 6 inch timber is supported at shoulder height, each team member must cut a four-inch "cookie" from the end of the timber. Time is started with the first pull of the bow saw and ended when the last cookie is cut. The CSM team took home the gold for the sawing as well.

Jackleging is the use of a pneumatic drill designed for horizontal use. Two team members have three minuets each to drill as mean and a deep of holes as they are able.

Track stand is one of the most demanding events at the contest. Four team members act as labor and one as supervisor. The team must move materials and equipment from a start line 30 feet away and construct a 15 foot section of track. Timber ties must be placed, track connected to existing stubs, and spikes driven to secure the rails to the ties. The event is in two parts as the total time is the installation time added to the removal time. Unfortunately this was the teams worst event -- they came in third.

The hand steeling event is a speed chiseling contest. Five members have two minutes each to use a 4-pound hammer for the men and a 3-pound one for the women, to drive a chisel into a block of concrete as deep as possible.

The final event was the hand mucking. An empty one-ton ore cart is pushed 75 feet down a track and back. Then two team members shovel a ton of gravel into the cart as fast as possible. When the cart is full, it is pushed down and back again, and the time is stopped.

At the end of competition a banquet was held back at the hotel, for all the competing teams. The times were tallied and scores calculated. When all was done, the coed team walked away with 2 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze, and the first place overall in the coed division.

All team members had a wonderful time and are looking forward to next year's competition to be held at the University of Missouri, Rolla.

Photo 1: Matt Schreiner swinging a hammer during his turn at hand steeling.
Photo 2: Kelly Michals, Matt Schreiner, Matt Sullivan, doing the track stand.
Photo 3: Matt Sullivan, Chris Schauffele, Kelly Michals, Eileen Sullivan, Jannelle Olivas, and Matt Schreiner show off their medals and trophies.

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