In 1976 the Gold Panners Hall of Fame was established to honor those who have contributed most to the advancement of gold panning as a past-time, spectator sport as well as a true art. Nominees for the Hall of Fame may also be considered for their skill, records, feats and loyalty and integrity to the gold community they live in as well as other parts of their state, country or world. Nominations for induction can be made up until March 1st of each year.
Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records
Over the years the same tools (pans, gold nuggets) have been used to ensure its consistency and fairness in the event a record might be broken under the same circumstances that it was set - the main reason for being the only contest of its kind to be recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. Also, it is the only true “World Open Championships” when others around the world are only known as “World Championships.” For the past couple of years, due to space permitted in the Guinness Book many records have not been listed if they haven't been broken in awhile. As of right now the only divisions recognized by Guinness are the World Open and Ladies World. It is in the works now for having the Men's World submitted, thus getting the other divisions once again listed.
Guinness Book submission:
The fastest time for panning a set number of gold nuggets (8) in a 10 inch metal miners pan leveled with sand in the World Open was recorded on October 17, 2010 at Dahlonega, Georgia in the 48th Annual World Open Gold Panning Championships by Johnny E. Parker with a time of 7.52 seconds. The Ladies World Record was set at Dahlonega in the 32nd Annual World Open Championships April, 21 1994 by Desiree Kelley of Cisco, Georgia with a time of 8.30 seconds. The Mens World Record was also set at Dahlonega in the 42nd Annual World Open Championships April 2004 by Johnny E. Parker of Dahlonega, GA with a time of 7.15 seconds.
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"May your bottom turn yeller!" - Johnny
World Open Gold Panning Championships history
The World Open Gold Panning Championships began in 1961 to commemorate the discovery of gold in Southern California March 6, 1842 by Francisco Lopez at Placerita Canyon. The World Open was founded by Glenn and Dorene Settle at their famed Tropico Gold Mine in Rosamond, CA. When the Settles retired in 1980 they began their search for the perfect site to carry on the tradition. They began by looking at places such as Karl’s Hotel/Casino in Sparks, Nevada and Knott’s Berry Farm near Los Angeles, California. Trying both places, a third was tried in 1988 - Dahlonega, Georgia with the co-sponsorship of the Dahlonega Jaycees, since then held the 3rd weekend in April to help kick-off the spring tourist season, and since 1992 held at the largest gold milling operation ever established east of the Mississippi River in the heart of America’s 1st major gold rush site of 1828 - the Consolidated Gold Mine
The Consolidated Gold Mine has - after long debate - announced this week (March 5) that the 2008 World Open Gold Panning Championships will move to October, being that was the month of the discovery of gold here in Georgia in 1828. Dahlonega has hosted the World Open in April since 1988 as well as the Gold Rush Open in October. Consolidated has hosted both these events for the past several years and says that this move of the World Open to October will basically take the place of the Gold Rush Open.
Julie Parker Dahlonega, Georgia
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To ensure fairness and consistency in all divisions...
3 JUDGES Counts to verify nuggets left in pan, checks sand remaining in the pan by using "the dreaded bb" Head judge is keeper of the "bb"
3 TIMERS Correctly and punctually uses a timer for accuracy. Head timer is responsible for averaging the three times with a calculator.
PAN-LOADER Loads the pan consistantly with a screened dry sand and leveled. Two pans will be in rotation. PAN-LOADER then loads the pan with 8 gold nuggets using the same pattern each time. This person also blows the whistle to signal to the timers when to start their stop watches.
RECORDER Works with both the JUDGES and TIMERS to record all results both on paper and chalkboard.
ANNOUNCER Communicates all the happenings to the audience by using a p.a. system. Will also be supplied with notes on past contests to help with commentary.