Reno’s Emma Baker sets rock drilling record at Nevada Day event in Carson City
Rock Drilling STANDINGS
Jesse Patridge-Ward, Colo.
Matt Karst-Cataldo, Idaho
Matt Decker-Safford, Ariz.
Greg Hasler-Pueblo, Colo.
Jeff Cooper-Carson City
Tobin Rupert-Carson City
Ryan Green-Carson City
A rock drilling record was set Saturday during Nevada Day.
Emma Baker, a Reno native, beat the women’s Nevada Day record for rock drilling with a depth of 6 and 22/32 inches.
“It feels really good,” Baker said.
She has been participating in the sport for three years, since she started college at University of Nevada Reno. There, she is part of the mining team, where one of the events is rock drilling.
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“Part of the UNR mining team is rock drilling, they use concrete instead of granite, but I go and just drill,” Baker said.
For her, rock drilling is in the family. Emma’s father Vern also competes in the sport every Nevada Day.
“It’s really rewarding to share this with my dad and spend that time with him,” Baker said. “I just go spend time practicing with him and his buddies and it’s a lot of fun, it’s a great family experience to share with my dad.”
Coming into the rock drilling world championship, Baker said she was just hoping to drill at least 6 inches.
“I just wanted to beat 6 inches, last year I didn’t achieve that but now next year my goal is 7 inches, just working toward progression,” Baker said. “It’s rewarding to see how much better you get each year.”
Though Baker was excited for her achievement, there was also a joy in finishing.
“I am kind of glad it’s over with, I am tired,” Baker said.
Each drill round lasts 10 minutes, with the participants drilling a hole into granite to make the deepest hole they can in the time period. Some drillers are able to hit the stake nearly 90 times per minute.
Nearly two dozen drillers from across the country joined Baker to compete for the world champion title.
“I really like competing and this gives me something to compete in,” said Carson City resident and participant Ryan Green. “I like being active and you know it’s like I can’t really run anymore, but I can do this.”
Rock drilling is an extremely difficult sport, taking extraordinary upper body strength to wield the hammer over and over again.
“I guess I still do it cause I like punishing myself,” Green joked. “But it is really fun to do and it’s fun to watch. As I get older all the guys and girls here get better.”
Green said the best part about a circuit like this is the camaraderie between the competitors.
“Everyone here is so nice,” Green said. “They are always willing to help you, they want to beat you but they want to help.”
Dozens gathered at the Max Casino on Saturday during Nevada Day. This was the first year the competition was held there, previously moving around various locations in downtown Carson, but this year the casino — along with Red’s Old 395 Grill — specifically asked to host and sponsor the event.
And the crowd was excited, the crowd hyped chanting “go” to the rhythm of the hammering. Patrons cheered as the buzzer counted down on the 10-minute rounds.
In the end, it was Emmit Hoyl of Denver, Colo., who took home the world title with 15 and 17/32, less than an inch away from the world record.