Jim Butler, Not Golden Knights, The Weekend Focus In Tonopah

Over the weekend, not everyone in Nevada was thinking about hockey.

Tonopah, which can get pretty frigid in winter, was celebrating Jim Butler Days. On Memorial Day for almost four decades, the town has honored the man who found silver there in 1900.

The celebration comes complete with a king and queen, a junior queen, a mucking contest, gold panning and just a lot of fun for this community of about 2,500 people some 200 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Heidi Kyser, writer for Desert Companion, the magazine of Nevada Public Radio, spent the weekend in Tonopah for the annual party.

Kyser said the event centered on mining with competitions that tested skills that would have been common for miners a hundred years ago. Skills like mucking, which is filling an ore cart with dirt as fast as possible. 

They also had a competition where competitors had to drive a metal spike into a block of granite as fast as possible.

As far as demonstrations, they also had a display where people could mine for gold flakes out of a trough filled with water, silt, and rocks.

Kyser said the Jim Butler Days are a huge part of the economy in the area and account for a large portion of business owners revenue for the year. 

Towns and cities across the state hold similar events highlighting their history and the residents' connection to it.

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Heidi Kyser, staff writer, Desert Companion magazine

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