Mackay Muckers place second in the intercollegiate mining competition

University of Nevada, Reno students get the chance to compete and network at international competition

Mackay Muckers place second in the intercollegiate mining competition

University of Nevada, Reno students get the chance to compete and network at international competition

In a multiday event that attracted a total of 58 teams from around the world, the University of Nevada, Reno's Mackay Muckers Mining team placed second overall in the co-ed division at the 37th Intercollegiate Mining Competition in Kalgoorlie, Australia.

"It means a great deal to be a part of a team that has the want to succeed," team member Chase Kittilsen, a junior majoring in mining engineering, said. "Placing second overall in the world in the co-ed division is a huge accomplishment. The motivation, team work and dedication were outstanding from every teammate and that is the perfect recipe to create a winning team."

The team competed against 29 teams in the co-ed division. The Mackay Muckers placed first in the mucking competition and second in the hand steel and track stand competition. Other events included gold panning, jack leg drilling, surveying and swede saw.

The mining games were created in 1979 at the University of Idaho to honor the miners that lost their lives in the Sunshine Mine fire in northern Idaho May 2, 1972.

"All of these events have a historic component and they have been contested by miners as long as there has been mining," Associate Professor in the department of Mining Engineering and the team's faculty advisor Danny Taylor said. "We still have these competitions to honor the historic traditions of the industry."

Taylor has been the faculty advisor for the team since fall of 1979 and took the first Mackay Muckers Mining team to the international competition in Arizona in 1980.The team has participated in all but two competitions since that time.  

"This year's team did well," Taylor said. "I was very impressed."

The team was comprised of six members including Kittilsen, Meredith McSorley, a freshman majoring in geology, Tate Boyster, a senior majoring in mining engineering, Brandon Holton, a senior majoring in mining engineering, James Ellis, a sophomore majoring in mining engineering and Emma Baker, a freshman majoring in geology. The team started practicing last September to prepare for the competition.

"Being on the mining team this year was such a fun and rewarding experience," Baker said. "It has been a pleasure to get to know and work with such amazing people. It is also amazing to be able to share the experiences and techniques with previous generations of the University of Nevada, Reno Mining Team."

Baker continues a tradition as her father also participated in the mining competition when he attended the University and was on the championship Mackay Muckers Mining team in 1984.

In addition to competing in the competition, the event provides an invaluable networking opportunity for the mining students.

"We get to meet fellow students our age that are studying the same fields we are from all over the world," Kittilsen said. "The mining industry is so small that it is likely we will be working with these people someday in our career."

The team also had the opportunity to tour mines in Australia. They visited the Newmont Corporation's Boddington Mine in Perth and the KCGM Super Pit in Kalgoorlie, which is Australia's largest open pit gold mine. To raise funds to go to the competition, the team networked with mining industry companies within Nevada.

"As a team, we did quite a few presentations to the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration Northern Nevada chapter and the Geological Society of Nevada along with sending out over 200 letters and approaching local mining businesses," Kittilsen said. "These presentations help us connect with industry personnel while getting our team and names known."

For more information about Mackay Mining, visit

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