(Submitted photo)

Find that nugget: Gold panning championship returns to Enderby

Vernon Placer Miners Club holding the championship at Riverside RV Park May long weekend

Enderby will see a gold rush over the May long weekend.

The Vernon Placer Miners Club is presenting its Gold Panning Championship with events for the whole family May 20 and 21.

The event at Riverside RV Park in Enderby is open to all skill levels. Competitions will be split into three age groups and three levels of ability.

Donna Smith, treasurer of the club, says there are many facets to the championship — and the prizes are exactly what you would hope for from a gold mining club.

“All our prizes are gold. They’re real gold,” she said.

There will be a gold rush event where people take turns scooping dirt out of a barrel in search of a gold nugget. There will also be a learn to pan event for $5 to show people the ropes of gold panning. There’s a dirt toss game for kids, which involves tossing three scoops of dirt into a pan and searching for gold.

“Who doesn’t like to throw a shovel full of dirt at something?” Smith said.

It’s the first Gold Panning Championship in three years as past events were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The return is a relief for the non-profit club, which relies on the event to bring in revenue for the year.

A metal detector competition takes place Saturday night, May 20, where competitors will search for keys hidden in the ground. Participants need to bring their own metal detector. The event will take place once it’s dark, and flashlights aren’t allowed; instead of looking, competitors will have to rely on the beeping of their detector.

The main event will see competitors pan for gold within an eight-minute time limit, in search of 15 flakes of gold. Whoever finds 15 flakes the fastest and has no sand left in their pan will be declared the champion.

“Their pan has to be free of sand, so in other words just the gold in the pan,” Smith said.

Registration opens at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 20, and the competition starts at 10 a.m.

“Sunday is our wrap-up. If we have any winners or doubles we play for who’s going to get top spot on Sunday,” Smith said.

There will also be a pancake breakfast Saturday and Sunday.

The event has been held since 1991, and the club has been around for about 30 years. The club meets on the first Tuesday of every month except January, July, August and September. The meetings are held at 7 p.m. at the Peace Lutheran Church in Vernon. The cost for a family membership is $20 per year.

For more information about the Vernon Placer Miners Club, visit vernongoldpanning.com.

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Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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Gold BarNorth Okanagan Regional DistrictRecreation