Savin' Their Bacon
Copper King Mine (1916)
July 8, 1916, was an ordinary run-of-the-mill day
for Elko miners Peter Kraus, Joe Schmidt, and Jim Rutledge until they sat
down for dinner.
Telling jokes and laughing, they seated themselves
around the table at their camp near the Copper King mine between Elko and
Their banter was suddenly interrupted by a spine
chilling howl. For a split second their forks were frozen in mid-air and,
just as suddenly, the three kicked back their chairs and jumped up to get
away from a coyote snapping at their legs under the table.
None had a gun. Joe grabbed the only weapon he could
find, a big slab of bacon hanging on the wall. With a might swing he clobbered
the animal. Before the varmit could recover its legs, the men raced from
Pete made a beeline for the shaft entrance where
he kept his rifle. The growling animal stayed on his heels. With near jackrabbit
speed, the coyote tried to head off Pete. The miner barely beat the animal
to the door and hid behind some boxes and tools.
He heard the coyote running back and forth looking
for him while yipping and snapping at just about anything in its way. Pete
was able to slowly slip into the shaft house where he grabbed his gun and
opened fire on the beast. It took five shots to do it in.
Thanking their lucky stars, the three harried miners
built a huge sagebrush bonfire and cremated the body of the trouble maker
while uttering maledictions against the whole tribe of Canis latrans.
Now there's a real shaggy dog story.
Source: Elko Free Press, 1916.
October 28, 2001
©Copyright 2001 by Howard Hickson. Permission to
use is given but, if any portion or all of this article is quoted, proper
credit must be given.
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