The South Dakota School (SD) of Mines & Technology Mining and Mucking Team are world champions, taking home first place in the coed/mixed division at the International Collegiate Mining Games held March 29-April 1, in Cornwall, England. The team, named Hammerslagen, took home the championship by placing in every competition category, mucking and surveying, hand steel and jackleg, swede saw and gold panning.
This year’s team was made up of metallurgical engineering majors Heath Pirkey from Berthoud, Colorado, and Kathryn Weyeneth from Dunlap, Illinois; mechanical engineering major Weston Shutts from Divide, Colorado; geological engineering major Max Southbloom from North Branch, Minnesota; and mining engineering and management majors Torger Henckel from Viroqua, Wisconsin, and Rahel A. Dean-Pelikan from Santa Clara, California.
The mining games incorporate historical mining methods and practices, many of which were employed in the Black Hills following the gold rush of 1876. Skills demonstrated at the annual games include jackleg drilling, hand steeling (drilling a hole with a single jack and a hand steel), bow sawing, mucking (known as shoveling on the surface), mine surveying, gold panning and track laying.
The International Collegiate Mining Games also serve to commemorate fallen miners. The first games were held in 1978 to honor 91 miners who died in the 1972 Sunshine Mine Fire in Kellogg, Idaho.
In the 2017 games, the SD Mines coed team placed first in the hand steel competition and fifth overall. The men’s team placed first in mucking and fourth overall.
At SD Mines, students receive hands-on experience with industry-grade equipment, management training, and the opportunity to survey and work underground with officials at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. Mining engineering and management students also train with professional mine rescue teams, intern at major companies across the mining industry, and interact with a wide variety of national and international mining experts.