Mackay Muckers

By Karlee Bolle

Left to right: Gillian Mandel, Karlee Bolle, Katie Nicholes, Dane Ehlers, Natalie Rubio, Abraham Clayson

Over the last weekend of last month, five students from the University of Nevada, Reno, called the Mackay Muckers, traveled to Rolla, Missouri to compete in the 44th Annual Intercollegiate Mining Games. The Mining Games started in 1978 to honor and remember the fallen miners of the Sunshine Mine disaster, and ensures that those miners will never be forgotten. The tradition continues as hundreds of students and alumni from around the world went to Rolla, MO this year. Because of Covid, the Mining Games have been canceled for the past two years, causing everyone in the mining community to wonder if it will ever be bought back. Thankfully Rolla had other plans, and brought it on themselves to organize and host the Mining Games.

The five UNR students that attended this year’s games where: Karlee Bolle, Natalie Rubio, Katie Nicholes, Dane Ehlers, and Abraham Clayson. Everyone on this one Co-ed team was brand new to the Mining Games. Either starting fall of 2021, or spring of 2022, the whole team had to learn not only what each event was, but the techniques that takes years to master. The whole team was out in the mining field 4+ days a week, 2+ hours a day to learn everything they could.

Finally competition was upon the Mackay Muckers. While there, UNR formed a friendly rivalry with the Colorado School of Mines Co-ed team. This was to push both teams to perform to their best abilities, while cheering on each other along the way. UNR’s three best events (out of the 6 available) was single jack, track stand, and mucking (which is what our team is named after). After finishing these three events they got (in order listed) 10.021 inches, 8 minutes 11 seconds, and 9 minutes and 32 second. Not having past competition times and measurement to compare to, the team was happy to have their personal best, and beat Colorado in these events. Colorado did beat UNR in Jackleg, seed saw, and gold panning, causing both teams to accept the tie and congratulate each other for a job well done.

The closing banquet is when each team finds out how they did in the overall competition. UNR found out that they received 4th in single jack, and 3rd in track stand. However, the event that really surprised them all was receiving second in mucking, only losing to Australia, making the Mackay Muckers the number 1 Co-ed team in mucking in the United States. Being everyone’s first games, they all celebrated this amazing accomplishment with each other, and might have cried along the way.

The Mackay Muckers would like to thank the University of Science and Technology in Rolla, MO for holding the games this year, and inviting us to participate. We would also like to thank: Dr. Dan Taylor, Greg Stokes, Marc Leedy, and many others for donating their time and some equipment to the Mackay Mucker. The Muckers also congratulate every school that was able to attend this year’s games, and the Colorado Men’s team for receiving the overall 1st place award.

Next year’s competition will be in Australia, so the Mackay Muckers are already looking for individuals and organizations to help with donating safety equipment, tools, and funds for travel.

We are also planning a fundraiser for next fall to raise the money needed to make the trip. If you have any questions for the Mackay Muckers, you can send an email to

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