NYSE: CDE$5.54-0.02
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Silver $14.62-0.01
Language ESP
Publisher: Kirstie Bakke

28 years ago, Jerry Harmon, Jim Wilcox, and friends, were looking for a way to help educate the public about two major industries in the Juneau community. Together they came up with the concept for Gold Rush Days – a two-day celebration to pay homage to the mining and logging industries, two industries that helped shape the city of Juneau.

Gold Rush Days is an action-packed celebration consisting of local fair foods, activities for the children, and meet-and-greets with local politicians. The celebration’s main attraction is the ongoing competition for the coveted All-Around Resource award. Contestants compete in mining specific events such as, jackleg drilling, and also logging events, such as pole climbing.

Mining education is an important aspect of Kensington’s relationship with the Juneau community. Kensington is a large supporter of the Juneau Gold Rush Days in many ways. The operation provides equipment, manpower, and monetary donations to the event each year. This connection allowed me the opportunity to not only attend but also participate.

This Chicago girl decided to put her skills to the test and compete in this year’s mining and logging events. Needless to say, I did not win Best Female Miner or Babe of the Woods, BUT I had a blast and came away with the following five take-aways.

  • Gold Rush Days connects Juneau’s past to its present and future.
    • While the logging industry has decreased in Juneau, the mining industry has remained. In fact, the mining industry is responsible for 800+ jobs in the Southeast Alaska area. That’s a huge impact for the Juneau area.
  • Like the mining industry, Gold Rush Days is a family affair.
    • Gold Rush Days is a family-friendly event – not only were there families spectating, but there were families competing! You had mother vs daughter, in-law vs in-law, sister vs sister, etc. Gold Rush Days is a great way to instill family values while learning about the significance of mining and logging in the area.
  • Gold Rush Days brings people together.
    • Gold Rush Days helps unite community members with advocates of the mining industry. It also allows employees from the two major mine sites in Juneau, Coeur Kensington and Hecla Greens Creek, to connect and stir up some healthy competition. Gold Rush Days is also a fun experience for summer tourists to stumble across. The more opportunity to educate people on the positive aspects of mining, the better.
  • It may be a competition but ultimately, everyone is there to have fun.
    • As a first-time participant, intimidation was inevitable, especially for the first event. I quickly realized that my fellow competitors were my biggest allies. They gave me pointers, cheered me on, and made me feel welcome. It’s a great environment because the people make it great.
  • Passionate people make Gold Rush Days successful.
    • Gold Rush Days wouldn’t be successful without the passionate, hard-working volunteers, contestants, and community members. Every group plays a specific role throughout the celebration, and it’s amazing to see the end result.  

If you happen to find yourself in Juneau while Gold Rush Days is occurring, you must make it a point to drop by and experience this wonderful event. Who knows, you may just win third in axe throwing.

Kensington employees and the Gold Rush Days Committee pose with the poster from the very first Gold Rush Days.
Kensington employees and the Gold Rush Days Committee pose with the poster from the very first Gold Rush Days.
Jerry Harmon, one of the founders of Gold Rush Days, and I posing for a quick picture in between events.
Jerry Harmon, one of the founders of Gold Rush Days, and I posing for a quick picture in between events.
Kensington employee, Eddie Petrie, faces off against a fellow competitor in the log rolling competition.
Kensington employee, Eddie Petrie, faces off against a fellow competitor in the log rolling competition.
Kensington employee, David “Sully†Sullivan, keeping close eye on the jackleg during the jackleg competition.
Kensington employee, David “Sully” Sullivan, keeping close eye on the jackleg during the jackleg competition.
Spectators cheer on contestants during the pole climbing competition.
Spectators cheer on contestants during the pole climbing competition.
Kensington employee, Dominic Hoy, competes in the Men’s Team Hand Bucking event.
Kensington employee, Dominic Hoy, competes in the Men’s Team Hand Bucking event.
Jeremy Whitmore, a Kensington employee, cheers on his fellow contestants.
Jeremy Whitmore, a Kensington employee, cheers on his fellow contestants.
Gold Rush Days comes to a close with the final event, Loggers vs. Miners tug o’ war.
Gold Rush Days comes to a close with the final event, Loggers vs. Miners tug o’ war.
The hardest event I participated in â€
The hardest event I participated in – the dreaded Horizontal Chopping.