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Western Spirit Foundation: host and founder of the 2021 Eureka Gold Rush Games™

The inaugural Eureka Gold Rush Games took place on June 26-27 at the Eureka County Fair Grounds. This new event celebrates Northern Nevada’s rich mining history with 1800s-style competitions such as the Men and Women’s Single Jack where each contestant drills a hole in solid rock, using only a cold piece of steel and a 4lb. hammer.

Alongside other industry organizations and Cyanco customers such as NVMA, McEwen Mining and Nevada Gold Mines, Cyanco was a sponsor of this first annual event, with proceeds going toward economic development efforts in the region. A portion of sponsorship dollars are earmarked for education/training scholarships for Eureka County students who are pursuing careers in the mining industry.

The Games are the brainchild of Joe and Lauren Luby, who established the Western Spirit Foundation in 2020 as a way to give back to their community and support the local economy. According to Joe, the Western Spirit Foundation was among five organizations to receive a competitive Rural Marketing Grant in early 2021 from the Nevada Commission of Tourism, which gave the Foundation the initial funding needed to plan the event.

Referencing the industry’s recent challenges due to COVID and new tax proposals focused on the local mining sector, Joe said, “It has never been more important to celebrate and promote the historic and ongoing positive impact of the mining industry here. Together we will protect our heritage and future.”

The Games relied on local organizations to support event elements such as food and beverage concessions. The local Lions Club ran the Fairground’s ‘Cook Shack,’ while the Eureka County VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Post 8194 managed bar service throughout the weekend. Both entities were given 100% of the profits earned. Volunteers from the Future Farmers of America Club and the Eureka Youth Rodeo Association helped staff the event, in exchange for donations made to both organizations.

Cyanco’s US Sales Manager, Steve Cochrane, attended the event, giving it two, enthusiastic thumbs up! “Joe and Lauren are local business owners, who know a lot about what this beautiful, remote region has to offer. They’re also aware of its challenges and founded the Western Spirit Foundation to help promote and develop economic opportunities for families and communities in rural Nevada.

The mining industry showed its strong support for the Foundation’s mission through sponsorships and attendance – even by registering company teams to compete in the Games themselves!”

Joe shared his appreciation for the mining companies and their suppliers, such as Cyanco, who stepped up to make the inaugural Games a success. “It’s incredible how much the mining industry gives back to the community. They’re very generous in their support of Northern Nevada, including our local schools, businesses and charitable organizations. That makes us even more excited to use a portion of the proceeds to fund a series of scholarships that will result in a better prepared and educated next generation of mining employees coming your way!”

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