By Brandon Johnson
As many of the members have already seen, the Gold Prospectors Association has announced the Gold & Treasure Show schedule for the first half of 2018. We will be hosting our shows in Tucson, Ariz.; Pomona, Calif.; Vancouver, Wash.; Las Vegas; and Boise, Idaho.
As I write this, the staff, many local volunteers, state directors and local GPAA chapters are gearing up for some exciting Gold & Treasure Shows on the east in Indianapolis, Ind., and Concord, N.C. We will look to confirm and announce additional East Coast shows for 2018 as soon as the 2017 shows are done and locations are confirmed.
The question of show locations has been asked of me several times. Members would like to see a Gold & Treasure Show in their area and wonder why we don’t host a show where they live, or why we are not returning if we were there the prior year. In recent years the GPAA has moved from hosting shows in major prospecting locations each year to every other year. As an example, in 2016 the GPAA hosted a show in Southern California and Northern California, but in 2017 we hosted a show in Northern California only, pushing a return to Southern California back to the 2018 schedule. The change in schedule inevitably starts the talk about GPAA dropping local shows in areas that will not host a show that year.
When GPAA hosts a Gold & Treasure Show in one area each year, over time the attendance of the show starts to dwindle. While each show is beneficial for those GPAA chapters, members, vendors and the general public who attend, levels of attendance play a big role in determining which venues to select for the following year. In order to schedule shows in a broader area, and to allow time for attendance to build in some of the areas where we plan to continue to host Gold & Treasure Shows, we have moved to hosting every other year.
The one exception, to this point, is Las Vegas, as that show generally plays a much larger role with GPAA Chapter Summits and Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association Member Dinners. We do plan to host both GPAA Chapter Summits and Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association Member Dinners on the East Coast. Chapter summits are already happening more frequently and plans are for those events to continue.
Other members live in areas that have not seen a GPAA show in a long time; some for as long as they can remember.
GPAA Gold & Treasure Shows play a valuable role in building strength in the local prospecting communities by supporting local chapters, recruiting new members in the area, bringing national manufacturers into the area with new and exciting equipment and services, and forming relationships between all of the above. I believe that the GPAA should host as many shows as possible, in as many areas as it can, and I feel that we need to support all the events that key in on prospecting and mining regardless of who commits to host them. There is a lot of valuable information that is shared, and a lot of important connections made at each event, evident from the “buzz” you hear in the air just after the doors open.
I do believe that a large number of locations could afford to host annual events promoting prospecting each year, and that those events could be promoted locally to attract large crowds. Gold prospecting and the allure of gold fever have the power to draw an amazing crowd, and the idea of unearthing your own gold, gold that has never been seen by any other human eye, has an undeniable universal appeal. We can always learn more, benefit from greater advancements in gold recovery, benefit from new relationships and connect with a larger crowd of like-minded individuals. To make this possible for GPAA, we need help from the members themselves. State directors, chapter leaders, local shop owners and any member who is willing to commit to hosting an event has the power to make a local show possible.
In 2018, during our Gold & Treasure Show in Vancouver, Wash., we will be hosting a chapter summit focused on what it takes to host a Gold & Treasure Show in your local area. This summit will be organized and conducted by chapter members themselves — those who can talk from experience about successfully promoting a local show; recruiting vendors, sponsors and volunteers; working with local television, newspaper and radio stations to get exposure and local nonprofits to support food drives and youth education; and even selling thousands of tickets before the show by creating interest and attracting the right crowds.
If you are curious to hear from members, like yourselves, on how they were able to accomplish this, I encourage you to consider attending the summit and working with this amazing group of members who make it happen year after year. With that said, the GPAA will be working with the Gold & Treasure Show schedule each year to spread our shows around to a greater area. We will be working with groups of local volunteers whose primary goal is to host the most successful local Gold & Treasure Show possible, we plan to return to locations where we continue to host successful shows, and we hope to bring our shows to a larger number of venues within the next few years.
If you are interested in how you may be able to get involved, please call our office for more information, talk with your local chapter leadership or state director about working to organize a show, and consider attending the chapter summit during the 2018 GPAA Gold & Treasure Show in Vancouver.
Brandon Johnson is the president of the Gold Prospectors Association of America and Lost Dutchman’s Mining Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org