President Gary Hawley said, "A great day for a great outing and as is said, a great time was had by all." Vice President Jeff Mosteller said, "the Annual Metal Detecting/Coin Hunt outing coordinated by Shawn & Pinie Conell was a hoot!" Dowsing Coordinator Hank Innerfeld said, "Everyone had a great time." Member Carol Oakes said, "The May 22nd GPR Metal Detecting/Coin Hunt outing was a blast!" And I say, "I couldn't have said it better!"
Whew, doggies . . . did you see the prizes awarded? And you'll note that every one of them was donated by a club member. Now that's dedication, folks--the kind of dedication that has made the GPR, as Gary is always quick to say, the #1 club along the Front Range. The entire GPR membership thanks you donors for heeding Shawn's and Pinie's call for prizes (especially me, having come up with the #1 prize, the 1.1 gram gold nugget donated by GPR member and supporter extraordinaire, Randy Solomon).
What you don't see in the list of donations and winners is the huge number of silver dimes awarded, one for each painted penny found, that were purchased by the club for this hunt. Lots of pennies--lots of dimes; it was a Silver Jubilee!
From the get-go, I knew it was going to be a fun outing when Jeff & Donna Mosteller showed up with the Cambro full of hot coffee to go along with the four dozen still-warm Krispy Kremes that Carol had picked up that morning. Yummmmmy!
Then it was off to the hunting grounds where everyone policed the area and picked up all the trash we could find, which we donated to the garbage bags back at the "judges' table" where Judge Pinie held sway. After that, while detecting participants were down at the creek with Allen Mershon, the hunt coordinators and helpers (which included Joe Johnston) planted the day's "treasure."
Finally, having learned all about how streams carry and deposit gold and various panning methods from Allen Mershon, back up the creek bank the detectorists went to surround the hunting grounds with raised detectors and high anticipation. With the piercing call of the whistle bird, coils hit the ground swinging and the hunt was on. The hunting was conducted in intense silence, except for the occasional immortal yell of Archimedes, "Eureka! I have found it!"
For the most part, in true GPR treasure hunter's tradition, we picked up our trash as we went, filled our holes before we moved on, and took pride in knowing we had not only competed fairly and in accordance with the club's treasure hunting ethics, but had left the area sprouting far less metal trash than when we had arrived.
When the "clear the field" whistle sounded, detectorists headed for the garbage bags to stash their trash and then to the judges' table where LeRoy Lamgo counted the loot and Pinie recorded the items found and handed out the prizes.
Then it was the judges' turn to sweep the field for left-over treasure that had not yet been found, while Hank got the neophyte dowsing group together and Joe ran the detector pinpointing sideshow booth.
While none of the dowser trainees found their targets, there being too much interference from previously hidden targets causing left-brain/right-brain confusion that hampered their ability to connect to their higher state of guidance, Wayne McConnell came closest to scientifically pinpointing a penny on the back of a slice of cardboard using a metal detector and won the coveted vial of gold donated by Allen.
It wasn't over yet, however, as Larry & Shirley Weilnau stepped up to the tub! Speed panning is their game and famous is the Weilnau name. These two nationally known competitors showed their stuff to the plodders among us. Fun and informative, too. (Watch for another national champion to come from the well-trained GPR membership!)
As the shadows and the queue for the Port-A-Potty were lengthening, everyone not lined up began pitching in to haul tables, chairs, bins, and all the rest of the day's necessary equipment under the highway and up to the parking lot.
Then, with everything stowed in the club trailer and members' vehicles, the group parted company; some headed downhill for home and others uphill to the Red Dolly Casino for a four-dollar prime rib dinner and a shot at the slots.
This is the best time I've ever had at one of our GPR club outings. I know others, too, will be saying the same thing when the club gets back together at the June meeting and we all thank Shawn, Pinie, Joe, Allen, Hank, Larry, Shirley, Jeff, Donna, LeRoy, Carol, and everyone else who helped make the day, May 22, 2004, a GPR outing to remember.
Photo Credits -- All taken by Shawn & Pinie Conell and Jeff & Donna Mosteller (except for the Red Dolly Casino)