Competitors from over 20 countries attend the World Gold Panning Championships each year to pan native sand and gravel in a specially made panning pool to find gold for the chance to become a World Champion.
There are many different official categories that form the World Championships. These include, Proficient Men & Women, Veterans, Juniors, Traditional Pan, 2, 3 and 5 person teams, and National Teams. There will also be a number of fun events for competitors to take part in.
In the individual categories, 30 competitors at a time each receive a bucket of sand and gravel that has been seeded with between 5 and 12 small flakes of gold (between 7 and 12 in the finals). In each heat, every competitor has the same number of flakes to find but it is only the Head Judge and Sand Supervisor that know how many pieces of gold that have been seeded for that heat. Each person’s time is recorded through an electronic stop watch and a 3 minute time penalty is added for each piece lost.
At least half of the gold panners with the fastest times in each heat will advance through to the next round, until the finals day when the best gold panners in the world compete with their peers for the chance to be crowned the best gold panner / team in the world for that year.
Gold panning is great fun for all the family, and everyone is welcome to take part in the World Championships. Don’t worry if you have never tried gold panning before because there will be a free gold panning school to show people how it’s done to give everyone an opportunity to take part in the competition.