2018 Quarry Challenge – Sylvania Minerals Quarry

Written by Kerry Guiliano, President of the Friends of the South Rockwood Library


The two Caterpillar 775F & G 70-ton machines that held the finish line glistened in the sunshine early Sunday morning as Quarry Challenge runners geared up for their second annual run into the heart of Sylvania Minerals quarry. As 256 runners lined up at the start line, Reagan Lewis led the crowd with a beautiful rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner”, the flag flapping in the wind as it hung from a boom truck.


The horn blew and the runners were off! It was perfect weather for the toughest off-road race around, the Quarry Challenge. 40 volunteers waited in anticipation as the competitive runners headed into the pit, all with the desire of being the first to cross the finish line.


Meanwhile, the Fossil Walk was in full-swing in the yard. This year, the Michigan Mineralogical Society, Friends of Mineralogy: Midwest Chapter, Orton Geological Museum, and the Oakland County Earth Science Club all hosted tables to talk to over 250 kids about rockhounding and hunting minerals in the Midwest. The kids dug for minerals and fossils in many different piles, and many came away with exciting treasures! The experts from each group talked about minerals, fossils, sedimentary rock, and petosky stones, and of course, how to get started rockhounding!


As Michael McDonald commented on Facebook, “Thank you so much for a unique and fun family event [Fossil Walk]. Our girls felt like “real adventurers” as my oldest daughter put it…. It’s great to see kids having a blast getting outdoors, getting dirty and learning. There aren’t that many opportunities for kids to do good old stuff like this anymore.”  


Back at the Quarry Challenge, our overall winner was finally in sight at the end of a grueling course. Jay Steele crossed the finish line, panting but excited to be able to put his name on the Winners Circle rock at the entrance to the quarry (check it out sometime – it’s very cool!) Soon after, our 1st place female winner, Marie-Eve Pepin, crossed the finish line, securing her year 2 title and reigning female champion from the 2017 event. The cheers went on and on as each of the runners and walkers crossed the finish line, many holding up their hands with joy that they survived the Quarry Challenge!


The Friends of the South Rockwood Library would personally like to thank Sylvania Minerals, Great Lakes Aggregates and the Village of South Rockwood for their unwavering support of the South Rockwood community and library. We wouldn’t be as successful without your support and commitment to making our community a better place!


Oh, and save the date for Quarry Challenge & Fossil Walk 2019: September 22, 2019. See you there!


Video highlighting the 5K event that benefits Friends of the South Rockwood Library. The event raised over $30,000!