Rock solid families: University of Nevada, Reno father-daughter duos compete in the Nevada Day 2016 World Championship Single-Jack Rock Drilling contest
The Nevada Day Single-Jack Rock Drilling ended up being a family affair.
Two sets of dad-daughter groups competed in the Nevada Day 2016 World Championship Single-Jack Rock Drilling contest. Claire and Ken Roberts and Emma and Vern Baker all participated Saturday.
“It’s an awesome bonding experience,” Emma said.
Emma and Claire, both 20, are a part of the mining team at University of Nevada, Reno, following in their fathers’ footsteps.
“My dad used to say ‘If someone came up to (Vern and I) in ’83, and said we would have two daughters the same age and drilling on our team, I would have said no way,’” Claire said.
Saturday’s contest was Claire’s first competition and Emma’s second Nevada Day competition.
“I am quite proud of that young lady,” Vern said of his daughter.
Though the two groups were all participating, they all agreed it isn’t a competition against each other, but a way to push each other to do better.
“We spend time practicing so it is a good way to spend time together,” Emma said. “But we’re not really competing because I am not even in the same ballpark as my dad. But it is fun.
“He helps motivate me and that pushes you.”
Claire agreed drilling is a good way to be around her dad.
“It is nice bonding time,” Claire said. “We have a granite rock in the backyard, so I will drive up to Truckee and practice and it’s a good time.”
Vern, who has been drilling off and on for 35 years, said it’s great to see his daughter drilling.
“It is a delight and so much fun to see her doing the same things I was doing 35 years ago,” Vern said. “And she seems to have fun and that’s important.”
For the Bakers and the Roberts, drilling has turned into more than just a sport.
“Being a part of this is awesome because it keeps the tradition going,” Claire said. “It is cool because it is not the most popular sport in the world and there aren’t many women in it.”
At 5 26/32 inches, Emma is considered to be one of the best women drillers around.
For a lot of competitors at the Single-Jack contest, the event was more about beating personal records. Carson City’s own Ryan Green was one of the competitors Saturday, and though he didn’t win the cash prizes, he was still pleased with his performance.
“I am happy, that was one of the best drills I could have done,” Green said. “They always say leave it all on the field and I feel like I did that.”
Green was hoping to get to 10 inches in the competition, and he came close, with 9 4/32 inches.
“I didn’t hit my hand so that was good,” Green joked. “But it was great, and it’s good because this is the one that matters.”
This year, the World Champion ended up being Tom Donovan with 14 7/32 inches, followed by Jesse Pattridge with 14 2/32 inches and the defending champion Emmit Hoyl with 12 23/32 inches.