Where do you find mothers lovingly cursing their daughters as they push a turn-of-the-century wheel barrow loaded with steel balls through an orange maze? Or hundreds of spectators turning out to watch professional tug-o-war teams battle it out on a wooden table with footholds? The answer is: Silverton, home to the annual Hardrockers Holiday weekend. The last, large mine in the San Juan Mountains closed in the early 1990s. As a result, last weekend's Hardrockers Holidays is about as close as the region gets to the true essence of hardrock mining. The traditional mining celebration has been honored in Silverton for 31 years, and judging by last weekend's crowds, it is not going away anytime soon. From throwing horseshoes to driving 3-foot-plus rods of steel into refrigerator-sized rocks with an oversized sledge, there are a variety of niches for competitors. Nearly anyone can participate in the event, but prepare to be humbled if you've never worked underground.

 Mike Luther, of Silverton, raises his hammer toward the sky while competing in the two-man hand steeling competition.  The front man of team Tremble Builders gives it his all as his coach checks the progress of his team on the rope.  White Horse Saloon tug-o-war team members celebrate after winning another two-minute tug under overcast skies last weekend in Silverton.  Dorothy McCarty prepares to shut off the pressure while her partner finishes drilling the second hole in the machine drilling contest, the premiere event at Hardrockers.  Krissy Rhodes loses her grip and heads for the deck during the final rounds of the tug-o-war.


In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows