Rocking Nevada Day

Jim Grant / Nevada AppealFred Andreasen, a Carson City resident and former rock drilling national champion, now oversees the Nevada Day event.

Jim Grant / Nevada AppealFred Andreasen, a Carson City resident and former rock drilling national champion, now oversees the Nevada Day event.

Fred Andreasen can easily explain his long-running dominance in rock drilling.“It just comes natural to some people, and to some people it don't,” he said.Although it turns out Andreasen was a natural, he didn't find that out until he was 30. He was working part-time at the Bucket of Blood Saloon in Virginia City when then-owner Don McBride came in with a poster advertising the state championship rock drilling contest in Gabbs. “He said, ‘You should do this. You'd probably be pretty good at it.'” Andreasen recalled.Growing up in Virginia City, Andreasen was familiar with the contest that harkens back to the mining days of the mid-1800s, when blast holes for dynamite were punched into rock by hand. Competitions were common on the Comstock during Andreasen's youth, his father a regular champion.“I went and got my dad's steel and hammer and practiced a couple of times in the back yard,” he said. “Then I went to Gabbs. I got second by 1/32 of an inch. Then I didn't lose again for 15 or 16 years.”The object of the competition is simple. Contestants use a 4-pound hammer to drill bits made of graduated steel into a slab of granite. The one who drills the deepest hole in 10 minutes wins. At least it sounds simple. In the contest of strength and endurance, Andreasen said, it's hard to not run out of steam. “I see so many guys after about four or five minutes, they totally lose their composure,” he said. “They can't keep a steady, perfect beat for 10 minutes.”But it was something he mastered in his career — averaging 75-80 strokes per minute — winning state championships, first in Gabbs then in Tonopah, when the competition was switched to that town during Jim Butler Days in the early 1970s.Andreasen was set to go to the 1975 world championships in Denver with McBride, who remained Andreasen's sponsor, but the contest was canceled. Mike O'Shaughnessy, then-chairman of the Nevada Day Committee, picked it up.It wasn't the first time Nevada Day hosted the event. Andreasen's father, Clint, won the championship in 1940.But in 1975, the World Championship Single-Jack Drilling Contest became an annual tradition during the Nevada Day festivities. And Andreasen dominated.Of the 15 years he competed, he took first place seven times. He came in second five times and third place twice.To keep fit, he kept up a regimen of running and doing push-ups, as well as practicing drilling in his backyard. Shortly before the world championship in 1978, a slip with his hammer left him with severed tendons in his thumb and broken bones in four or five places. In the emergency room, he explained to the doctor he had a competition in a month he would need to be healed for. Not only did the doctor tell him he couldn't compete the following month, “he told me I could never do it again.”So Andreasen waited until he could get into his regular doctor, whom he'd known for years. His reaction was much different. “He said, ‘The most important thing we have to worry about now is getting you ready for Nevada Day,'” Andreasen recalled. He went on to win that year. So popular had he become, then-governor Richard Bryan donned a T-shirt proclaiming, “Fred Andreasen is No. 1.”Being at the top, though, took some of the fun out of it.“Everyone just expected me to win,” he said.So just shy of 50 years old, he laid down hammer. But he never really walked away.He continues to oversee the competition each year, noting the changes during the years as bits have become more precise, instead of the ones he used to pound out on an anvil in his garage. Overall, he said, the contest is the same. And he freely hands out tips for anyone looking to try it out.“Get a hammer and piece of steel,” he said, “and go up into the mountains. Find a rock, and pound on it. That's what I did.”If you goWHAT: 37th annual World Championship Single-Jack Drilling ContestWHEN: 11:05 a.m. SaturdayWHERE: Carson Nugget parking lotContestants compete for a $5,500 grand prize. The defending champion goes last. The world record was set in 1993 at 16.34 inches deep by Scott Havens of Elko.

TodayTraveling Wall escort: The van carrying the Vietnam Vets Traveling Memorial Wall will leave Fallon about noon en route to Mills Park in Carson City, escorted by more than 500 motorcycles and a military helicopter. Spectators will be able to line U.S. 395 in Carson City to watch the procession. The Wall is expected to arrive at the park at 3 p.m.Thursday-SundayRSVP Nevada Day Fair, Mills Park: Carnival Hours: 4-10 p.m. Thursday and Friday; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Rides: $1 each or all-day pass for $20. $5 Super Carnival Discount Coupons online at (click on RSVP Fairs). Information: 775-687-4680, ext. 7; 28th annual carnival features carnival rides for adults and kids, food and crafters. Proceeds benefit RSVP programs such as Home Companion Program. Battle Born Days: Mills Park. Hours are the same as the RSVP Carnival except: USO Dance: 6 p.m. Friday at Carson Nugget; Bomber Girl Pin-Up Pageant: 6 p.m. Saturday at Carson Nugget. Free except for Gun Show, Dance and Pageant. Information: Call 775-240-7958, or visit ThursdayGovernor's Banquet: 6 p.m. no-host bar; 7 p.m. dinner. Grand Sierra Resort, Reno. Tickets: $45 per person; table of 8: $320. Contact Rich Crombie, 775-846-1130. Banquet features special guest speakers, live entertainment, raffle, silent auction, semi-formal attire. Proceeds benefit Gold Star Families of Nevada and Blue Star Mothers, honoring our veterans, fallen soldiers, and active duty military personnel. FridayFirst Tee Golf Tournament: 12:30 p.m. shotgun start Silver Oak Golf Course Cost: $400 per 4-person team. Contact: 775-851-233; The First Tee of Northern Nevada third annual Nevada Day Tournament benefits The First Tee Golf & Life Skills programs in the Carson City region. The First Tee National School Program and regional In-School Outreach programs. SaturdayReMax/Nevada Day Balloon Launch: Set-up starts at 7 a.m.; launch at 8 a.m., weather permitting. Launches from the area of Stewart and South Carson streets. Contact: Stephen Lincoln at 775-841-1000. Republican Women's Pancake Breakfast: 7-9:30 a.m., Governor's Mansion; $6 for adults and $3 for children under 10. Information: Mary Burgoon or Kaye Keeton at 775-884-3011 or Pancakes, eggs and ham and orange juice. Proceeds go toward a scholarship for two deserving students from Carson High and Dayton High. The price remains the same as it has for the past 12 years. The Builders Association of Western Nevada Pancake Breakfast: 7-10 a.m. In front of Red's Old 395. $6; Children 5 and younger are free. Information: 775-885-4353. Funds from this traditional pancake breakfast go toward the Helping Hands program and Western Nevada College Scholarships Fund. Classic Run/Walk: 8K Run at 8:15 a.m.; 2-mile Walk at 8:25 a.m.; and 2-Mile Fun Run at 8:25 a.m. Starts at Telegraph & Curry streets and goes through the historic district. Information:, or call Tom Wion: 775-882-0410. More than 400 runners and walkers of all shapes and sizes — and even attire — hit the streets of Carson City for this benefit for the Special Olympics. Train Steam Up Nevada State Railroad Museum: McKeen Motor Car, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City. Tickets: Adults 12-up, $10; children 4-11, $5; 3 and younger, free. Call: 775-687-6953. Commemoration of the last run of the McKeen Motor Car, No. 22, on the V&T line, Nevada Day, 1945. Purchase tickets at the Wabuska Depot at the Museum. Nevada Day Pinewood Derby: Main hall in the Carson Mall. Registration: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Race: 1 p.m., after the Nevada Day Parade. Free entry; car kits $4. Open to kids ages 6 and older, through old geezers. Download rules and regulations at: Car kits are at American Family Insurance locations, Bobby Bean Agency, 2085 Highway 50 East (William St.), 775-885-9542; and The Kathy McClintock Agency, 300 S. Curry St., Suite 6, 775-885-8110. Visit Les Schwab's Pit Crew at any Carson City location to have the specs checked on your car. Nevada Day Parade: 10 a.m. to approximately 1 p.m., along Carson Street from William Street to Stewart Street; 2012 Theme: “Honoring Our Military & Families — Past, Present, Future.” Information: 866-683-2948. The parade kicks off with a 10 a.m. flyover of military craft from the Naval Air Station Fallon and the Nevada Air Guard. Parade awards in many categories are given including best float, best band, best mounted equestrian group, and best historical entry. World Championship Single Jack Drilling Contest: 11:05 a.m. Carson Nugget west parking lot. Entry fee: $50. Spectators free. Application and rules at (click Rock Drilling Contest). Information: 775-882-2600; 866-683-2948; email Come view the old-world contest of strength, skill, and Sierra White Granite grit. Contestants use 41⁄2 pound hammers and as many as 11 bits of graduated steel to drill a 3⁄4 inch hole in a 4,320 pound piece of Sierra White Granite. The contestants have 10 minutes to pound the drills into the solid stone. The deepest hole wins. Total purse of up to $5,500. The contest goes back to the Comstock mining skills of earlier times, when blast holes for dynamite were punched into ore bodies by hand. Annual Chili Feed: Noon to 2 p.m., Carson Nugget; free. Information: 775-684-1921. Lt. Gov. Brian K. Krolicki hosts the annual chili feed featuring free chili with all the fixin's and a blue grass band. Beard Contest: Immediately follows the Nevada Day Parade, about 1 p.m. Amphitheater just south of the Capitol steps. Information:, or call 775-882-2600. Open to anyone with a beard. No entry fee, and no admission to watch the proceedings. Plaques are awarded to the longest; fullest; reddest; whitest; blackest; best salt-and-pepper; best groomed; scruffiest; and most bearded community. Governor's Mansion Tour: 2-4 p.m. 606 North Mountain St., Carson City. Call: 775-687-3000. Governor's Ball: 7-11 p.m. Piper's Opera House, 12 North B St., Virginia City Tickets: $25 advance; $30 at the door (adults only). Call: Rae Maeder at 775-847-7173. Dance to Victorian-era music. Attire is Victorian, Edwardian, Civil War and/or Formal Western Attire. Appetizers and desserts served. No-host beer/wine/soft drink bar in the auditorium, and Piper's Corner Bar will be open downstairs. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadours: 8 p.m. Brewery Arts Center Performance Hall 511 W. King St. Carson City Tickets: $35 reserved floor seating; $28 reserved main level seating; $23 balcony seating Contact: 775-883-1976 or Antsy and the Troubs return for a rollicking night of music, humor and celebration.


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