Chokers, chopping and climbing

Juneau's annual logging and mining competition returns better and all brushed up

Posted: Friday, June 26, 2009

After a two year hiatus, Juneau's mining and logging competition, the Gold Rush Days, are back in town.

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Photos By Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Photos By Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

The two day event is to be held in Savikko Park in Douglas on June 27 and 28. The event has moved from its previous location in Dimond park to softball field No. 2 next to the new pavillion.

The hiatus and move to Douglas comes after the city asked the Gold Rush Days to move so a new fieldhouse could be built on their previous location in Dimond Park. The Gold Rush Days Commission didn't complain and Harmon said that the new location is better in many ways, from parking and ease of access to openness and the view.

Started by miners in 1988, the Gold Rush Days was intended as a way to "celebrate Juneau's past and present," miner and Gold Rush Commission director Jerry Harmon said. He and three others formed the Gold Rush Days Commission in 1990 that puts on the annual event. Loggers joined the event in 1994.

It was because of the move that Gold Rush Days skipped a year.

"The site wasn't ready for us to take over yet." Harmon said.

He said they've been planning this year's event since 2007.

"We haven't changed anything, but we've improved on it," he said.

The Gold Rush Days are comprised of a variety of mining and logging competitions.

The mining events take place on Saturday from 9a.m. to 5p.m. and include hand and overshot mucking, spike driving, and team and single Jackleg drilling.

The logging events are on Sunday, also from 9a.m. to 5p.m., and include hand and powersaw bucking, log rolling, and cable splicing.

The events are free and open to everyone. To sign up for a competition, arrive early, around 8 a.m., and head for the registration tent. Then, just be present when it's time for your event.

There is also a Ruth Robert's children's carnival that includes games and gold panning for children both days from 1p.m. to 3p.m., and there are prizes.

There will be a tent set up with booths with merchandise, information, and a wide variety of food.

Harmon estimates that 50 to 100 competitors come to the event every year from around the state and up from down South. And up to 100,000 spectators make the Gold Rush Days competition at the Alaska State Fair.

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