Forest crowned King Miner for third consecutive year

Josh Forest received a self-described National King Miner “hat trick” on June 23 after winning the Nickel Days mining skills competition for the third year in a row.

During Sunday’s awards ceremony inside the C.A. Nesbitt Arena, organizers said that Forest clocked the best time out of all 20 competitors in the jackleg drilling, hose mending, bolting and pipefitting events.

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The T-1 mine production supervisor for Vale ultimately cracked the top four in more than half of the contest’s 11 different challenges, all of which took place in the Thompson Regional Community Centre’s south parking lot the previous day.

This strong showing allowed Forest to hold onto the King Miner crown and walk away from this year’s competition with $5,100 in prize money.

Even though he’s been participating in the King Miner contest for over 13 years now, Forest truly made a name for himself back in 2017 by dethroning Bryan Woytkiw, who won the competition’s top prize nine times since 2007.

Since Woytkiw hasn’t taken part in the event since then, Forest has kept a tight grip on the competition in the intervening years and 2019 was no different.

Forest credited his success to his chiropractor and athletic therapist, who help him keep up with some of the younger competitors.

Forest also briefly talked about his history with the competition and how he’s managed to improve after all these years.

“My first year I broke the stoper [drilling] record and I just got hooked ever since,” he said. “So every year I just started picking up little tricks from all the veteran competitors and I’m a good observer I guess. “

Looking forward to next year’s competition, Forest encourages any northern resident to enter, especially since the atmosphere amongst participants is very co-operative and not at all dog-eat-dog.

“There isn’t one person out there competing that won’t help you to overcome your fear,” he said. “It’s just an awesome environment and you’d be silly not to try it out. There’s people here that aren’t even miners and they’re making money.”

King Miner veteran Jason Stykalo also put in an impressive performance throughout Nickel Days weekend, becoming the competition’s first runner-up for the second year in a row. Matt MacGregor and Kerry Roberts rounded out the event’s top four by receiving second and third runner-up, respectively.

Stykalo pulled off another repeat from the 2018 King Miner contest by winning the team event alongside Scott Kennedy, Justin Lefebvre and Alex Martin.

2019 National King Miner Contest winners 

National King Miner

King Miner: Josh Forest

First runner-up: Jason Stykalo

Second runner-up: Matt MacGregor

Third runner-up: Kerry Roberts

Team event winners

Scott Kennedy, Justin Lefebvre, Jason Stykalo, Alex Martin

Rookie prize

Ashley Mallett

Stoper drilling

First prize: Alex Martin

Second prize: Josh Forest

Third prize: Kerry Roberts

Fourth prize: Michael Gallant

Jackleg drilling

First prize: Josh Forest

Second prize: Matt MacGregor

Third prize: Justin Lefebvre

Fourth prize: Alex Martin


First prize: Josh Forest

Second prize: Matt MacGregor

Third prize: Alex Martin

Fourth prize: Ashley Mallett

Log Sawing

First prize: Frank Bushby

Second prize: Karlyle Knutson

Third prize: Troy Martin

Fourth prize: Evan Bercier

Ladder climbing

First prize: Scott Kennedy

Second prize: Ethan Amyotte

Third prize: Justin Lefebvre

Fourth prize: Jason Stykalo

Hose mending

First prize: Josh Forest

Second prize: Troy Martin

Third prize: Scott Kennedy

Fourth prize: Jason Stykalo

Hand mucking

First prize: Josh Forest

Second prize: Scott Kennedy

Third prize: Jason Stykalo

Fourth prize: Matt MacGregor

Steel packing

First prize: Scott Kennedy

Second prize: Frank Bushby

Third prize: Kerry Roberts

Fourth prize: Justin Lefebvre

Crib building

First prize: Scott Kennedy

Second prize: Josh Forest

Third prize: Frank Bushby

Fourth prize: Kerry Roberts


First prize: Josh Forest

Second prize: Jason Stykalo

Third prize: Michael Gallant

Fourth prize: Scott Kennedy

Nail driving

First prize: Jason Stykalo

Second prize: Scott Kennedy

Third prize: Ashley Mallett

Fourth prize: Frank Bushby

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