When the parade passes by on July 4, Ged Miner and wife EllaJean will be waving at the front of the line.
Miner is being honored as the grand marshal of the Tooele City Fourth of July Parade. He is also being honored as the grand marshal at the Bit N’ Spur Rodeo July 3-4.
“I was the president for a year,” he said. “That is probably why they asked me.”
Miner works to understate his accomplishments.
“Everywhere I went, I had really good people working around me,” he explains.
He thinks his job for the parade will be an easy one.
“I think we are going to ride in a pickup truck and wave. I don’t think I have to do anything else,” he noted.
“It’s a really big honor because the people who have gotten this honor before me have been really, really good people. It was humbling to be asked,” he said.
Is he worried about the crowds?
“I am going to just be me,” Miner said.
For the Bit N’ Spur rodeo, he plans a similar approach.
“I am going to go out and tip my hat to people. It will probably be on a horse and cart,” he said.
During the rodeo, he plans to appear before events and wave.
“I think that is all they dare ask me to do,” he joked.
Miner was born and raised in Tooele, one of five children.
“My family always had livestock and I was lucky to have my own horse and spent a lot of time riding in Settlement Canyon,” he said.
And as a kid of that generation, he was able to make do with what he said.
“I was too small for a saddle, so I just rode bareback!” he laughed.
Miner married his sweetheart in 1976. They built a house in Erda. But then things changed.
“We spent 10 years tramp mining and working all over the West,” he said.
Miner was a specialist, a development miner in many mines across the western states. He worked in Idaho, Arizona, Idaho and Nevada.
“Well, the main goal was to stay live,” he laughed.
Development mining is an important task in starting a mine. He learned his trade at the Anaconda mine in Tooele and then took his skills on the road.
“We would just follow the work,” he said. “We were the team in charge of drilling the first part of the mine, sinking the shaft.”
Miner and his team worked with a specialty drill and worked on the machines drilling straight down. The hoist would take then down and bring the team and product up.
He has been as low at 6,100 feet below the surface. That is about six of the Kennecott smoke stacks on top of each other.
“It is pretty hot down there,” he remembers. “The deeper you go, the hotter it gets. It got pretty hot.”
The most important thing, oxygen, was also a problem.
“You have to have a vent line that blows down the hole. The problem is that it is hard for the fans to push the air that far down.”
Sinking the shafts for potential mines kept him busy for almost 10 years.
The engineers would track likely veins of product. The machines he was working usually brought up silver and gold rocks, which proved the vein was good and the company would develop and build a mine there.
“The goal was to take care of each other. If someone needed work, then they would just go ask the boss, and hopefully the other guys were giving you a good reference,” he said. “We would just take care of each other.”
The money was really good, for back in the day, Miner remembers.
“But then we got so many kids and it was hard to go anywhere, so we just came home,” he said.
The family ended up with a daughter and twin boys.
“We had built a home in Erda in 1978. So, we moved there,” he said.
Back in Tooele Valley, he mined in a different way.
“I ended up going to different plants around the area. In the end he worked for EG&G for 17 years, and retired in 2013. He worked as an outside supervisor, overseeing three crews and burning nerve agent.
“I missed tramp mining a lot, but it was sort of a young man’s job,” he said. “I realized I could make more money working on the top.”
But back home, he could work on another dream.
Miner was always involved with horses and ranching, keeping several horses for the family to enjoy.
Settled in one place, he was ready to start enjoying the horses he always loved.
He formed a team penning group in the 90’s, with Boog and Rick Anderson. Team penning is with three people work on rounding a group of cows into a pen. It can be harder than it sounds.
“We did that around the state, even riding in the Delta Center,” he said.
But then his daughter entered high school.
“Well, we all had daughters about the same age. They took our horses and our gear, all of our money and all of our time.
The girls started team penning and the men ended up hauling them all around the state doing high school rodeo,” Miner said.
The girls were involved in many of the rodeo sports: team penning, barrels, poles and other activities.
Now that part is his life is over, he can focus on his other hobbies.
He got involved with the Bit N’ Spur rodeo group during his many years working with horses.
Miner served as President of the Bit N’ Spur rodeo in 1994.
The Bit N’ Spur has been around several decades.
“All I did was help continue with their work,” he said humbly. “We were just over the riding club and put on the rodeo.”
What Miner remembers was working with a lot of contractors and concession stands to make sure the crowds were happy.
“I basically put on my apron and cooked up a lot of hamburgers,” he laughed.
Miner also wanted to thank all the people who have worked with him.
“Everything I ever did I had really good people around me and my family,” he said.
He noted that his wife, EllaJean, was a nurse and when they were tramp mining she was at work even before he started working on the sites.
“Probably the hardest working and best partner I ever had,” he said.
Since they have been back in Tooele, Miner has started on another beloved hobby.
“I spent a lot of time teaching my kids to ride and now I am teaching my 10 grandkids to ride,” he bragged.
Even before he retired, Miner was raising, breeding and training horses.
“Oh, it has been lots of years,” he said. “Lots of training, lots of horse trading.”
Miner also sold colts he bred and trained.
“Now I just get to ride my horses and teach my grandkids,” he said.
His other favorite passion is golf.
“I love to hate golf,” he said, noting he and his friends usually golf three times a week.
“It is just something you never win, it’s a challenge,” he said.