The 2019 California State Gold Panning Championships
Sponsored by the
Heritage Celebration – Foresthill, Ca.
August 31 and September 1, 2019
I. Gold Pan Categories
II. Competition Divisions
IV. Competition Rules
V. Panning Rules
VI. Team Division
VII. Other Specific Rules
I. Categories and Rules
I. Gold Pan Categories
Classic Pans: Classic pans include those commonly used in the western United States, are round in shape, made of an assortment of materials and can be with or without riffles or grooves. Modifications are ok if they are within the traditional design format. Pan diameter cannot exceed 19.6 inches (50 cm), depth cannot exceed 5.9 inches (15cm) and riffle or groove depth cannot exceed .59 inches (15mm).
Open Pans: There is no limitation on pan type other than the maximum size of 19.6 inches (50cm) in diameter, 5.9 inches (15cm) in depth and riffle depth of .59 inches (15mm). These pans may be Ferrari pans (flat pans), rectangular pans, or any other pan design. Square or rectangular pans cannot exceed 19.6 inches (50 cm) in length or width, 5.9 inches (15cm) in depth and riffle depth of .59 inches (15mm).
Steel Classic Pans: The Steel Classic Pan is a pan similar to those used in the gold rush era of 1849. These pans will be provided for the Championships for this event only. You must use your own pans for practice.
Eight divisions exist in the California State Gold Panning Championships. The eight are: Beginner, Junior, Skilled Women, Skilled Men, Veteran, Team, Open and Classic.
Beginner: Men and Women of any age, who have panned twenty or fewer pans of material and never competed in a competitive event, are eligible to participate in the Beginner Division. Individuals who compete in the Beginner Division cannot compete in any other Division. A panner can choose to bypass the Beginner Division. Entry fee is $10.00. The top six preliminary panners will advance directly to the finals. The Beginner Division will not have semi-final heats. Gold pans must meet the criteria of Classic Pans.
Junior: Juniors are 15 years of age or under at the start of the competition and include both sexes. Entry fee is $5.00. This Division will have preliminaries and finals on Saturday. The top six qualifiers will advance directly to the finals. The Junior Division will not have semi-finals and will be panning with less river gravel than the other Divisions. Gold pans must meet the criteria of Classic Pans.
Skilled Women: Women 16 years or more in age are eligible to participate in the Skilled Women Division. The entry fee is $10.00. Preliminaries will be held on Saturday, with semi-finals and finals on Sunday. The top 12 preliminary panners advance to the Sunday semi-finals. The top three panners from each of the two semi-finals will advance to the Finals. Gold pans must meet the criteria of Classic Pans.
Skilled Men: Men 16 years or more in age are eligible to participate in the Skilled Men Division. The entry fee is $10.00. Preliminaries will be held on Saturday, with semi-finals and finals on Sunday. The top 12 preliminary panners advance to the Sunday semi-finals. The top three panners from each of the two semi-final heats will advance to the Finals. Gold pans must meet the criteria of Classic Pans.
Veteran: Individuals (both Sexes) 60 years or more in age are eligible to participate in the Veteran Division. Entry fee is $10.00. Preliminaries will be held on Saturday, with semifinals and finals on Sunday. The top 12 preliminary panners advance to the Sunday Semi-finals the top three panners from each of the two semi-finals heats will advance to the finals. Gold pans must meet the criteria of Classic Pans.
Team: A team consists of any three individuals regardless of age and sex. The entry fee is $5.00 per participant for a total fee of $15.00 per team. The six teams with the best preliminary times will advance directly to the finals on Sunday. Individuals may not compete on more than one team. Gold pans must meet the criteria of Classic Pans. See Team Event Rules for further details.
Open: This competition is for everyone, with no age or gender
Gold pans used must meet the criteria of Open Pans. The entry fee is $10.00. The top 12 preliminary panners advance to the Sunday semi-finals. The top three panners from each of the two semi-finals will advance to the finals.
Classic: This competition is also for everyone. The entry fee is $10.00. It is the same as the Open with the exception that the pan used for this competition is a steel pan provided by the event sponsor. This pan will be provided at the Salting Tent along with the gravel for panning. Every panner will have to use one of these provided pans: there are no exceptions.
The registration booth will handle all incoming panners. The panner will complete the entry form and provide the necessary information. The entry form is used to keep track of the panning times and categories. The use of this form will be explained at the registration booth. Entry fees are to be paid during registration. Teams must provide not only a team name but also the legal names of all three members.
All competitors in all divisions other than Team have the option of panning a second time in the preliminaries to improve their performance and qualify for the semi-finals. There is a $5.00 fee for second attempts in each division. (Juniors and beginners may try again for $2.50). Teams have one attempt to qualify for the finals.
Each competitor has several contests they can enter. An individual can enter up to five events. The options are as follows. Individuals who enter:
Skilled Women may enter the: Classic, Open, Team, Skilled Women and Veteran (if 60 years old or more) Divisions.
Skilled Men may enter the: Classic, Open, Team, Skilled Men and Veteran (if 60 years old or more) Divisions.
Beginners may enter the: Beginner Division.
Juniors may enter the: Classic, Open, Team and Junior Divisions.
Veterans must be 60 years or older. Proof of age may be requested. The failure to provide proof of age can result in disqualification. Veterans may enter the: Classic, Open, Veteran, Team and Skilled Men or Skilled Women Divisions.
V. Panning Rules:
A contestant may use his/her own pan or borrow one from the Mother Lode Goldhounds.
Gravel washed from the pan or dropped to the ground may not be taken back into the pan. Flakes of gold dropped anywhere other than in the pan or provided vial may not be picked up, even if they are visible in the panning area.
The number of gold flakes placed in the competition gravel will be:
3 to 6 flakes for qualifying attempts.
5 to 8 flakes for the semifinals.
6 to 9 flakes for the finals.
10 to 20 flakes for the team event.
Each panner will be provided with a vial and lid or stopper. The panner may choose to fill the vial with water as he/she picks up their competition gravel.
No more than ten minutes (teams will have twenty minutes) will be given for each individual’s preliminary attempt, semifinal heat or the finals. Competitors must stop panning and all related activity at the end of the time limit. Competitors who do not stop all activity at the end of the ten minutes (twenty minutes for teams) may be disqualified. Only the gold that is already in the provided vial at the ten-minute mark will be accepted. If ten minutes is exceeded, the cap will be placed on without a penalty.
When starting, the competitor must place the bucket of competition gravel and pan on the floor. The pan must be empty.
The announcer (or timer) will announce, "Get ready"; the competitors are ready when their hands are placed on the panning tubs. The announcer (or Timer) will then announce, "GO" to start the heat.
The competitor will signal when he/she is finished by raising the pan high over their head. The competitor and the primary timer will proceed to the Judge's table for scoring. The vial should be placed in the pan and left undisturbed until it reaches the Head Judge's table. There the competitor may choose to count the flake in the vial.
All recovered gold flakes must be placed in the vial and the vial capped prior to the competitor signaling they are finished. A capping penalty of two minutes will be assessed if the vial is not capped prior to the panner giving the finished signal. If the cap is dropped in the water or on the ground during panning, the panner may retrieve it but time will continue running. If a cap is dropped, after the panner raises the pan signaling completion, a two-minute capping penalty is applied, but the panner may still retrieve the cap and place it on the vial. If the cap is lost, and the panner then spills the vial on the way to the Judge’s Table, the gold spilled is lost and will not be counted.
The vial must contain more gold than all other materials combined (excess debris). A two-minute penalty will be assessed if this is not the case.
The competitor will announce to the Head Judge the number of flakes contained in the vial. If the Head Judge's count differs from the competitors, the Head Judge will empty the contents of the vial into a pan and a final count will take place, which is final. The competitor may ask the Head Judge to perform the count if the competitor cannot accurately make the count.
The competitor’s final score is the "panning time" from the Timer’s watch, plus five minutes for each flake not recovered, plus a capping penalty (two minutes) if any, plus an excess debris penalty (two minutes) if any and a five-minute penalty for too many flake(s) if applicable.
A five-minute penalty will be assessed, if the final gold count has more gold flakes than the Chief Salter put into the bucket. The recording sheet will reflect the actual number found and will be placed in parenthesis (x) to reflect the overage by the panner. Decisions of the Head Judge are final. In the case of rogue gold from the gravels that is not the proper size, shape or color, the Head Judge has the option of not counting that flake and not penalizing the panner.
The semi-finals and finals will have more river gravel for panning than the preliminaries. The gold will also be smaller in size.
In the semi-finals and finals, a premium is placed on the capture of all the gold flakes. Final’s qualifiers and winners will first be chosen from competitors who captured all the flakes. In the case that not enough competitors necessary to advance to the finals or be declared winners of the finals are available the preliminary timing rules, which assess penalties for lost flakes will apply. This means that if a competitor gets all the gold, and none of the others do, he or she is the winner, regardless of the time factor.
Competitors may not use equipment or tools of their own other than their pan. This includes but is not limited to classifiers.
Team Division Rules: All of the rules for the other divisions apply to this division with the following exceptions:
The preliminaries and final heat will have a time limit of twenty minutes. Qualifying teams go directly from the preliminaries to the finals. There are no semi-finals. At the end of twenty minutes all panning activity must stop and the vial capped. During the preliminaries and finals, the event Announcer may provide a time count at eight and sixteen minutes, with a final two-minute warning given before the twenty minute limitation is reached. There is no guarantee the announcer will always do this. The timers for an individual team may not provide time counts of any type.
Although the number of gold flakes in each of the team’s three buckets may vary, each team will receive the same total number of gold flakes when all three buckets are combined.
Only one panner (per team) may pan at a time. Each panner must pan their entire bucket of gravel, recover the gold flakes, and transfer the gold into the vial, before the next panner begins panning. The panner must then leave the competition area and wait for the team to finish. The vial may be left open (at team option) from the time the first panner removes the cap to the last panner finishes. Once the final panner has transferred his/her gold into the vial, he/she must cap the vial and then signal they have finished by raising the pan above their head.
Each panner may either use his/her own pan or use the same pan as the previous panner on the team. When the same pan is used, concentrates (remaining sand, gold and fine material) in the pan may not be passed on to another team member. The pan must be empty before the next team member starts. The transfer of material from one team member’s pan to another team member at the Head Judge’s discretion may result in disqualification.
A competitor can only be on one team. Panning as a member of more than one team will automatically disqualify both teams that the competitor was a member of.
Teams may not substitute members once competition has started. The Head Judge must approve any substitution ahead of time. This approval will be rare and likely based upon physical disabilities and the choice of a substitute competitor.
VII. Other Specific Rules
· Competitors who have qualified for the semi-finals or finals, and are not present after being paged three times, will be disqualified. The semi-finals or finals will proceed with a lesser number of competitors. The same holds true for the finals of the team event.
· Timers cannot assist competitors in any way once panning starts, including information about bottles, caps, gold in a pan, time, etc. Timers may assist contestants and answer questions prior to the start of panning. Violation of this rule at the Head Judge’s discretion may result in disqualification.
· A contestant can appeal an official decision. An appeal must be presented in writing within 20 minutes of the completion of panning. The appeal should be presented to the Head Judge and will be reviewed by some members of a five-person committee that consists of the Competition Director, Head Judge, Head Timer, Chief Salter, and President of the Goldhounds. Their decision is final. A protest form will be available at the Judge’s table.
· There may be one or two timers for each panner. If there are two timers, one is the primary timer and his/her time will be used. The second timer is a backup timer and their time will only be used if the primary timer cannot meet his/her duties.
· An individual may be disqualified from any or all events if a majority of a five-person committee consisting of the Competition Director, Head Judge, Head Timer, Chief Salter, and President of the Goldhounds deems disqualification appropriate.
The United States National Panning Championship Rules are the same as the California State Panning Championship Rules with the following exceptions.
The U.S. Nationals are for United States citizens only. This includes each member of a team.
Proof of citizenship may be requested.
The categories are:
The top three of each category will medal. See the detailed schedule for the schedule of these events.
This concludes the rules and regulations for the State and National Championships.
Revised June 1, 2017