Gold & Treasure Shows draw full house
5/15/2012 10:37 AM
2012 events attracting more vendors, setting record attendance
By BRAD JONES
GPAA Editor / Content Director
This year’s GPAA Gold & Treasure shows are breaking the mold and setting record attendance.
March brought in a storm of showgoers to Puyallup, Wash. and Red Bluff, Calif, followed by a blockbuster show in Salem, Ore. in April that drew a full house of more than 3,000 people.
“Salem was phenomenal,” said GPAA Executive Director of Operations Dominic Ricci.
“There was a little bit of rain, but it was an incredible show,” Ricci said. “The facility was completely booked out with vendors. With that said, there was so much equipment being purchased there and going out the doors, vendors were smiling broadly,” he said.
“We had educational seminars going on in our lecture hall and we brought in more than 100 new members as well as membership renewals. The new members got familiar with the local chapters that were there so now they join a chapter, learn more and start prospecting for gold.”
From Salem, the Gold & Treasure Show crew headed to Fresno, Calif., where more than 1,800 people attended the event.
“It was a very good turnout for Fresno, which is kind of a depressed economic area. There was a lot of mining equipment and other merchandise flying out of that little building,” Ricci said.
“A funny thing happened in Fresno. A special visitor tried to come through the wrong door and security stopped him and would not let him through the door,” Ricci said. “That person was Tom Massie. He had to be walked around to the front door in order to get in, so we all kind of laughed about that, but Tom did make it to Fresno, signing autographs and pictures.”
The Gold & Treasure Show in Las Vegas drew more than 3,200 showgoers.
“We hosted a vendor appreciation party on Friday night,” Ricci said. “It was a good time to meet with them and associate with them outside of the show. It was just a relaxed time to get to know the people that travel from show to show,” he said.
“It’s just fun meeting new people and sharing ideas. Then, Saturday and Sunday the show was in full force with a 60,000 sq.-ft. showroom. We opened up some of the aisles for people to move around,” he said.
“We had an incredible venue this time — more room, more booths. There was a lot more walking room even though there were tons of people,” Ricci said.
“It was comfortable to walk around. You weren’t bumping elbows with somebody else. It just made it very easy,” he said.
This year’s Vegas show offered more variety and more vigor.
“You had everything from gold prospecting to rocks and gems and other attractions. We had a something for everybody. If a little kid wanted to learn how to fly a remote control helicopter, we had it; If somebody wanted to buy candles, we had it. Of course, there were massive amounts of mining equipment, too,” he said.
“We hadn’t been in Spokane for many years, so it was nice to be back in a place we haven’t been for a long time. When we opened the doors at 9 a.m., there was only about 20 people standing outside and usually we usually have 200,” he said.
“Well, what had happened is the facility forgot to open one of the main gates. So, the actual line was about 100 yards away and once they opened those gates the place was flooded with people. The first 100 vials of gold went within minutes,” he said.
“It was a great show! You saw people there both days, on Saturday and Sunday, just enjoying it, talking and learning and seeing new equipment that they hadn’t seen before, especially because they haven’t had a GPAA Gold & Treasure Show in years,” Ricci said.
“They were very happy to have us back. We had people coming from Oregon, Montana, Idaho and all over Washington, so that was pretty impressive.”
Both Sturgill and Ricci attribute this year’s successful gold show tour to better organization, promotion and, of course, the high price of gold.
Free admittance for showgoers who pre-register online has also been popular and another reason why attendance at the shows has skyrocketed, Sturgill said.
“We are seeing thousands and had more than 1,000 pre-registered attendees,” he said.
To pre-register for GPAA Gold & Treasure shows, go to: www.goldandtreasureshows.com
There are eight more shows slated for late summer and fall:
2012 Gold & Treasure Shows
- Rapid City, SD — Aug. 25-26
- Casper, WY — Sept. 8-9
- Butte, MT — Sept. 15-16
- Denver, CO — Sept. 22-23
- Mesa, AZ — Sept. 29-30
- St. Joseph, MO — Oct. 13-14
- Dayton, OH — Oct. 20-21
- Spartanburg, SC — Oct. 27-28
Brad Jones is Editor/Content Director for Gold Prospectors Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org