Injured rock driller returns this year to victory

Jim Grant / Nevada AppealCarson City resident Tobin Rupert competes in the World Championship Single Jack Drilling Contest.

Jim Grant / Nevada AppealCarson City resident Tobin Rupert competes in the World Championship Single Jack Drilling Contest.

Emmit Hoyl came to Carson City to win. “There’s a little vengeance there I’d say,” he said. The Colorado rock driller was cut short last year when a piece of steel nicked an artery resulting in a fountain of blood spraying from his arm. He was forced to stop when fellow driller and Reno doctor Brock Boscovich stepped in. “The only thing that worried me,” recalled Boscovich, “is that I wouldn’t be able to stop him. If he would have kept going, he would have run out of blood. Or at least been really dizzy.”Hoyl returned to the annual World Championship Single-Jack Rock drilling during the Nevada Day celebration Saturday to redeem himself. And he did. Drilling 14.38 inches, he clinched the title for the fourth year. “It felt really good,” he said. “I didn’t beat my (personal record), but I’m definitely happy with the hole I drilled.”Reminiscent of the Comstock-era mining days, the contest tests strength and endurance as competitors use a four-pound hammer to pound steel bits into a slab of granite. After 10 minutes, the person with the deepest hole wins.While Hoyl basked in his victory, lifelong friend and drilling partner Jesse Patridge plotted to steal it away.Although one of Patridge’s bits split in half, he rallied to take second place with a drill of 12.56 inches. And he’s got his eye on first place.“It’s a constant rivalry,” he said of his relationship with Hoyl. “We’re constantly going back and forth. The next step is to beat him.”Hometown driller Tobin Rupert drew his usual crowd, all chanting an assortment of “Tob, Tob,” “Rup, Rup,” or “go, go,” with every strike of the hammer.He thanked a group of them afterward for their support.“You guys started chanting and it got me back into it,” he said. “I started ripping at the end.”He improved over last year’s mark with a depth of 7.09 inches. However, he said, his drill bits didn’t meet the requirements so he used a new set for the first time.“It was just a little different, but that plays a bit on your confidence factor,” he said.Still, he was pleased with his results. “You’ve got to be happy if you finish,” he said. “That’s a long time to be out there. That rock is so hard, you have to just lay the pipe into it.”Competing for the first time at the Nevada Day competition was Carson City’s own Patty Capistrant. Although she has competed in five-minute contests, it was her first time to drill for 10 minutes, reaching an impressive depth of 6.25 inches. “I have no idea how I did it,” she said. “I see these guys doing it, and I just pick up some of their techniques.”Studying for her master’s degree in geology at the Colorado School of mines, Capistrant was one of four women competing in Saturday’s championship. She’d like to see more, and hopes a women’s division will soon be added. “I think a lot more women would show up if there was an opportunity,” she said. “But it is unreasonable to expect us to be competitive with the men.”Molly Hunsaker, who drilled 2.94 inches, agreed. “A women’s division would be great,” she said. “There’s other mining competitions that have just as much female turnout as men’s.”All things considered, announcer Johnny Gunn declared the competition a success. “Everyone’s going home in one piece today,” he said. “No blood.”Results of the 2012 Single-Jack Rock DrillingEmmit Hoyl 14 12/32Jesse Patridge 12 18/32Tom Donovan 12 17/32Steve MacDonald 11 14/32Matt Decker 11 12/32Craig Leedy 11 5/32Brock Boscovich 9 17/32Tim Leedy 8 10/32Craig Lemons 8 8/32Greg Hosler 7 27/32Jordan Oxborrow 7 10/32Tobin Rupert 7 3/32James Eason 6 24/32Patricia Capistrant 6 8/32Paige Cybluski 3 18/32Stephanie Shelley 3 1/32Molly Hunsaker 2 30/32Ken Roberts 2 12/32


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment