GPAA: Gold & Treasure Expo set for Abilene, Texas Sept. 6-7

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Gold Prospectors Association of America: Three local chapters of the Gold Prospectors Association of America will hold a Gold & Treasure Expo in Abilene, Texas Sept. 6-7. Learn how and where to find gold at this special event, which is open to the public.

GPAA Gold and Treasure Expo attendees learn to pan for real gold!

GPAA Gold and Treasure Expo attendees learn to pan for real gold!

All three events will include the ever-popular two-week Alaska Gold Expedition trip prize giveaways to Cripple River Mining Camp near Nome, Alaska. Trip prizes will be awarded each day of each show.

Three local chapters of the Gold Prospectors Association of America will hold a Gold & Treasure Expo in Abilene, Texas, Sept. 6-7 at the Abilene Civic Center, 1100 N 6th St., Abilene, TX 79601.

The GPAA invites the public to attend the expo for a chance to learn how to prospect and mine for their own gold and win major prizes. Participants will get a chance to pan for real gold at the shows, attend lectures on gold prospecting, and check out the latest and greatest selection of small-scale mining equipment from vendors. Admission is $5, and active military and veterans with valid ID and children 12 and under are admitted free. The first 100 paid attendees will receive a free vial with gold. Show hours are Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Part of the proceeds from the event will go to the Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation, said event organizer Mike Duran.

The Abilene, Texas event in September is the second of three GPAA late summer and fall Gold & Treasure Shows, which includes shows in Sonora, Calif. in August and Oklahoma City, Okla. in October.

All three events will include the ever-popular two-week Alaska Gold Expedition trip prize giveaways to Cripple River Mining Camp near Nome, Alaska. Trip prizes will be awarded each day of each show.

GPAA Executive Director of Operations Dominic Ricci said the GPAA Gold and Treasure Shows were started decades ago by GPAA founder George “Buzzard” Massie to introduce people to prospecting and show them how and where to find their own gold.

“We encourage everyone to bring their family and friends because there is no better place to learn how to find your own gold. There is plenty of fun and activities for all ages, from gold panning to small-scale mining equipment demonstrations to gold prospecting seminars,” Ricci said.

Gold prospecting remains a popular American pastime, especially with the price of gold hovering steady around $1,300 an ounce.

The GPAA is committed to preserving the heritage of the North American prospector, teaching people how and where they can find gold, and showing them the tools and equipment needed to find it. Gold prospecting is really another great excuse to get off the couch and head out into nature to enjoy time spent with family and friends, he said.

“It’s the draw of the fresh air, camping, and getting outdoors. It’s good physical exercise and keeps you fit. If you find gold in your pan, it’s a bonus!” Ricci said. “You can buy gold for a staggering $1,300 an ounce, or you can scoop it up from the streams and ground near your home at the cost of a sore back, wet feet, and maybe a few bug bites. That’s the promise of what we call gold fever, a pastime that has caught the imagination of young families and retirees from all across the United States and the world. Today, gold prospecting remains a challenge and is as much about recreation as riches.”

As an added highlight, the popular band, Callahan Divide, will perform live Sunday, Sept. 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Abilene event (included with admission).

“Aside from the Alaska Gold Expedition prizes, the local GPAA chapter will announce other special trip giveaways at the show,” said GPAA Chapters Coordinator Aley Aragon.

“Texas is going to be a very exciting show. It will feature world-renowned treasure hunter and best-selling author W. C. Jameson as a keynote speaker,” Aragon said. “He has written more than 1,500 articles and 320 songs, and has dozens of published poems as well as his books.”

Jameson, who has been featured on the Travel Channel and Unsolved Mysteries, was also an adviser during the filming of National Treasure starring Nicolas Cage. “He’s a real-life treasure hunter!”

Local Abilene GPAA Chapter President Wallace Lester, North Central Texas GPAA Chapter President John Hammond, and Wichita Falls GPAA Chapter President Alan Davis are excited about the new features this year, and will be at the Abilene Gold & Treasure Expo along with other GPAA members who will also be there to introduce newcomers to gold prospecting.

“We will teach them. We are very proud of that — and it is fun,” said Duran, who encourages everyone of all ages and from all walks of life to attend the show. “Even for children or older people who may think they can’t mine, we have something they can do. We take pride in setting up something for everyone to do and enjoy.”

Other popular features are the Gold Panning Zone for all ages and the Scavenger Hunt for the young nugget hunters attending the show, Duran said. “We want to make sure people know this is a gold prospecting event and not a gold jewelry show, although there will be lots of jewelry as well,” Duran said. “On Saturday, there will be an opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m. to kick off the greatest Gold & Treasure Expo in Texas, so be an early bird!”

The GPAA has also announced a tentative lineup of nine official GPAA Gold & Treasure Shows for 2015: Pomona, Calif., Feb. 7-8; Mesa, Ariz., Feb. 28-March 1; Stockton, Calif., March 7-8; Portland, Ore., March 28-29; Boise, Idaho, April 11-12; Las Vegas, Nev., April 25-26; Denver, Colo., May 16-17; Charlotte, N.C., May 30-31 and Knoxville, Tenn., June 6-7.

GPAA Trade Show Manager Gene Glenn said next year’s shows will be held in larger venues in major urban centers to make them more accessible to more people.

“We’re going to draw more people. It’s going to be a better experience for attendees and for vendors as well. My hope for the 2015 shows is to appeal to — not only to encourage more families to spend time in nature together, but to tie in gold prospecting with other outdoors activities such as fishing, camping, hiking, and off-roading. Why not bring a gold pan with you on your travels? Prospecting is fun and can be very lucrative if you know what you’re doing,” Glenn said.

The Gold & Treasure Shows are a one-stop shop for everything you need to go find your own gold.

“They are family events so the kids are going to want to come and get involved,” Glenn said. “Bring the kids and let them pan for real gold and try metal detecting. There’s really something for everybody no matter what your skill level — including newbies who don’t know the first thing about gold or small-scale mining.”

The focus on larger urban centers is designed to introduce more newcomers to the world of prospecting.

“Prospecting, to this point, has been something that’s almost exclusively generational. It’s a pastime that’s handed down — an experience that kids have had with their parents like Tom Massie had with his dad George Massie, and then handed down to his kids. George really built the GPAA from something that was a hobby — a couple of kids their dad and a gold pan and techniques that you can learn at these shows.”

With the modern technology, such as metal detectors, GPS and new, light-weight equipment, mining gold has never been easier.

“Most people have no idea or don’t think it’s something that’s even possible,” Glenn said. “They don’t know how to find gold or where gold comes from, and that’s what the GPAA has to offer them.”

Pre-registration is key: Everyone who plans to attend these shows is asked to please log in to your GPAA profile at and pre-register for the shows. If you have not yet created a profile, it’s easy, click the “Help” button for guidance.

For more information, go to, call Mike Duran at (808) 635-0525 or email northcentralgpaagranburytx(at)gmail(dot)com.

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