Colowyo employees operate “Heavy Metal Monsters” on Weather Channel

A Weather Channel cameraman captures some of the action at Colowyo Mine as a 240-ton haul truck lumbers by.

A Weather Channel cameraman captures some of the action at Colowyo Mine as a 240-ton haul truck lumbers by.

The long-awaited airing of a workplace reality TV program called “Heavy Metal Monsters,” featuring employees working at Colowyo Mine in western Colorado, is scheduled to air on the Weather Channel on Monday evening, Oct. 7.

The 30-minute show will run at 7 p.m. on many of the region’s cable television and satellite systems. However, check your local listings, as the exact time of airing by some providers may vary between 6 and 8 p.m.

The Weather Channel program’s three-member production crew visited Tri-State’s subsidiary-owned Colowyo Mine last March to film a segment on the men and woman who operate some of the world’s largest industrial machines — in this case, to extract and ship 2.3 million tons of coal a year to Tri-State’s 1,311-megawatt Craig Station, located about 27 miles northeast of the massive mine operation.

“The crew, which has filmed large equipment all over the world, was very impressed with the equipment we have here at our site,” recalls Mike Gush, Colowyo’s senior health and safety specialist. Gush and Stephen Laramore, the mine’s safety and health manager, coordinated the film crew’s visit at the mine and made sure they stayed out of harm’s way during their four days of filming.

“Heavy Metal Monsters” video crew members were impressed with the mine’s massive walking dragline.

“Heavy Metal Monsters” video crew members were impressed with the mine’s massive walking dragline.

The on-camera stars of the program’s Colowyo Mine segment are Tracy Mack, who is a veteran operator of the mine’s 240-foot tall 8050 Marion walking dragline — which is capable of scooping up to 62 cubic yards of overburden material at a time in its massive shovel. Mack’s son, Jason, is also featured in his role as operator of one of the mine’s fleet of D-11 Caterpillar dozers.

On the truck and shovel side of the operations, Donald Hobbs operates another large electric shovel that holds up to 54 cubic yards of overburden material. Also appearing on camera is Connie Archuleta, who operates one of the mine’s dozen 240-ton haul trucks.

“Overall, I think our employees did a great job of portraying the safety and professionalism that we strive for in doing our jobs at the mine,” said mine manager Chris McCourt.

“Those of us who had an opportunity to preview the video segment agreed that mining operations were depicted in a far more dramatic light than what really goes on in our day-to-day operations. But I guess that’s what television is all about,” joked Gush.

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