The Twenty Mule Team is seen during Twenty Mule Team Day in 2013. The team will return this year, fresh off appearances in the Rose Parade and in Washington, DC.
PHOTO BY TANIA LEWIS
Though it appears to be just another remote mining community in the High Desert between North Los Angeles County and the High Sierras, Boron is a town of surprises hidden behind the doors of museums, satisfying eateries, and “mom and pop” businesses. In an effort to revitalize the local economy and enhance the quality of life for its citizens, the Boron Chamber of Commerce allied itself with local industry and public agencies to lead the effort to reveal Boron’s local treasures with a general plan of improvement.
Like every other small community in the nation, times are a bit tough. However, the Boron community has rallied to make changes with a lot of old fashioned volunteer hard work. Each year, Boron celebrates this hardened miner spirit, with the Twenty Mule Team Day celebration held the first Saturday in October.
The event will acknowledge a triple anniversary in 2017 with an appearance of the famous Borax Twenty Mule Team. The newly constructed replica wagons built by wheelwright David Engel, of Engel’s Coach Shop, pulled by the team of twenty mules, were recently seen in the 2017 Rose Bowl parade and the National Independence Day Parade in Washington, DC. Modern day muleskinner Bobby Tanner will manage the jerk lines in the 2017 Twenty Mule Team Day event that celebrates the 60th Anniversary of the community’s parade.
In this screen capture from television coverage, the Twenty Mule Team is shown during the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.
PHOTO COURTESY RIO TINTO MINERALS
“The 20 Mule Team is a powerful symbol for our company. It represents courage, hard work and perseverance; three words that describe our company very well even in 2017,” said Isabelle Brassard, Managing Director, Borates Operations.
A second anniversary will note the 90th year of mining in Boron. U.S. Borax, including the Boron operation, was purchased in 1967 by Rio Tinto. U.S Borax’s parent company, Pacific Coast Borax Company, founded by Francis M. “Borax” Smith in 1872, celebrates its 145th anniversary in 2017.
Rio Tinto will mark the 2017 Twenty Mule Team Day and anniversaries with a Family Day celebration for the families of the company’s employees at the Boron Park after the 10 a.m. parade. There will be an exclusive area for Family Day attendees adjacent to the main park event.
The community event will welcome locals and guests with a variety of game, food, and vendor product booths and a carnival type atmosphere. Fair attendees will be entertained by daylong offerings of music. The Chamber Events Committee will provide additional transportation around the park and town to provide additional opportunities to visit the Boron Aerospace Museum, the Boron Twenty Mule Team Museum, and local businesses, where guests can learn more about local history and colorful facts about the earlier citizens.
All Twenty Mule Team Days guests are encouraged to take a short trip to the Rio Tinto Operations site to see the Borax Visitors Center, where displays of minerals, geological facts, and mining equipment are on display. Rio Tinto will host bus tours of the mine operations departing from the Borax Visitors Center every 15 minutes starting at noon with the last departure at 3:45 p.m. These tours are open to the public and are on a first come, first served basis, with priority for Family Day attendees. Don’t miss this rare chance to tour the mine and plant facilities.
Make sure to plan a visit to Boron October 7 for the Twenty Mule Team Day Anniversary celebrations.
“The 20 Mule Team is a powerful symbol for our company. It represents courage, hard work and perseverance; three words that describe our company very well, even in 2017.”
– Isabelle Brassard, Managing Director, Borates Operations