"Typically, we have about 150 to 200 participants competing in the events, and thousands more who come out to watch," said Calvin Crumrine, a member of the Juneau Gold Rush Commission. "If the weather's good, and it has been very good this summer, I wouldn't be surprised to see between 15,000 and 20,000 people."
Photo by Christina Holmgren When the grownup contestants break at noon, it's the kids' turn to compete.
Outside the tent, mining and logging activities will be taking place, including a number of crowd favorites. "There are three categories of mining events," said Crumrine. "Drilling, using a jackleg drill; spike driving; and hand- and power-mucking."
The spike driving and hand mucking events are open to men, women and children, as is the logging choker-setting competition. Other logging events include horizontal and vertical chopping; single and team power bucking and hand bucking; obstacle pole bucking; and the Iron Logger competition, in which a person has to participate in four events in succession. As of press time, it had not yet been determined if there would be climbing events, as the Commission was facing logistical difficulties getting the 90-foot long poles placed into the ground.
Photo by Christina Holmgren Nikki Reichert in the 2004 powerbucking.
"We prop a log up with its end in the air about four to five feet away from the supports. A person jumps onto the log, climbs out to the end, and then cuts a section of the log off with a chainsaw. Then they have to climb back down without falling."
"When you get down near the end, the log is only about eight to twelve inches in diameter," he added. "So it's a test of balance and agility, as well as skill with a chainsaw."
Photo by Christina Holmgren Little Mary Bennett was fascinated by last year's Gold Rush Days competitions.
"Then they have to climb over a log, which is about five feet in diameter, pass the cable under, loop it, and climb back over. This isn't an easy thing to do, especially for the smaller people."
For those in the crowd who would like to participate in an event but not take their lives in their hands, the Commission expects to have a gold panning competition that will be open to both children and adults. The Ruth Roberts Children's Carnival will also be taking place, which includes games, face painting and rides.
This year's Gold Rush Days will be held on June 25th and 26th, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and there is no cost to attend. Though still held in Dimond Park, it will be located further back in the park than in previous years, due to construction of the new high school.
"Juneau's history is built on logging and mining, and it's good to come out and see what the people in these industries do," said Crumrine. "It's also a wonderful time and it's free!"