Thursday, August 10, 2006

How I Spent My Summer Vacation -- Chapter 3


That's the only way to explain the two-man Jack Hand Steeling competition at Boom Days in Leadville, Colo.

One man hits the bit that is held by his teammate to drive the steel into a block of Colorado blue granite. Each two-man team has 10 minutes -- plenty of time to get tired and miss the target -- to see how deep into the granite it drive a steel bit. When one miner becomes fatigued at the hammer, he switches places and holds the steel while his partner hammers.

The winners -- including Grady Colby, who won the one-man competition (five-minute round) the previous day (picture below) -- went more than 16 inches into the granite on Sunday. It is remarkable that I saw so few "misses" -- even when the man at the hammer was obviously tiring. It is a test of strength, stamina, concentration -- and trust.

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