At This Championship, They Really Go For The Gold

2018 World Gold Panning Championships

We think that Dallas Gold & Silver Exchange is the best place to hunt for gold, because you’ll always find what you want.

But if you’re more the old-fashioned type, and you have a competitive streak, join the rush to Hodruša-Hámre, Slovakia. That’s where the 2018 World Gold Panning Championships get under way on August 6 for six days of pressure, pride and prospecting.

About 600 competitors from more than 20 countries are expected at the annual event, which features colorful opening ceremonies, a gold-themed festival – and serious competition.

The championship dates from 1977, when panners from 10 nations gathered in Finland to transform their hobby into the inaugural shiny showdown. Last year’s WGPC was held in Scotland, and the year before that in Placerville, California, near the spot of the historic discovery that set off the California Gold Rush.

Categories include men, women, juniors, seniors, two-person teams, three-person teams, five-person teams and national teams. Italy is the two-time defending champion.

But no matter the classification, it comes down to a pan-off. Everybody gets a giant tub of water, sand and gravel into which officials have put between 5 and 12 bits of gold, depending on the competition. Whoever sifts all of them out the fastest wins.

Jody Franklin, director of tourism for the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce, which hosted the 2016 WGPC, said the event may be misunderstood.

“It’s just a unique sporting event,” she told the Sacramento Bee. “When you think gold panning, they picture this little old guy with a beard next to the river, you know, swishing away…No, it’s a lot quicker than that.”

Have you found some extra gold bullion around your home and want to trade it in for cash? Head to your nearest DGSE location today!