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Can You Dig It?

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Author Topic: Can You Dig It?  (Read 1151 times)
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« on: April 13, 2016, 06:22:36 am »

(To the like 3 people who automatically heard that in their head in the voice of the character Cyrus from the movie The Warriors--congratulations, you're weirdos!)  yes

I'm here to plug my club's show.  This year, the dates are May 21 & 22.  Hours are 10-6 on Saturday, 10-5 on Sunday.  Admission is $2 per head except the mini-rockhounds; kids 12 & under get in free.  It is a VERY kid-friendly show, with some fun activities just for the littles.  This weekend, assorted club members will be heading over east of the Sapphire Mountains to pick up some buckets of coarse sand from a river where they know there are garnets and sapphires, and kids will have up to half an hour each to comb through the sand for tiny but beautiful gems of their own.

Other details include:  we have 26 confirmed vendors, enough that if they all show up we might be pretty short on space.  We will have paleontologist Dave Trexler from Two Medicine Dinosaur Center, who typically brings some fossils that are still being sweet-talked out of their stone matrix (and some interns to keep working on them while he interacts with visitors).  Usually they also have a reduced-size cast of the skull of Sue the T-Rex.  Club members will be running tables and milling about, answering questions about the club, the local geology, geology in general, rockhounding, gold panning, and "what is this rock I found in my front yard/driveway/shoe/etc?"  There will be displays under glass from the club, from artists, and from collectors.  The geode saw will be on site, and you can bring or buy rocks to have cut on it--last year I got some Mexican all-clear-quartz geodes and a handful of Priday & Frieda beds minis that turned out to all have opal inside!  There's an ongoing raffle as well as at least one silent auction.

The location is, as always, the First Interstate Building on the Ravalli County Fairgrounds here in Hamilton, MT.  If you've been in past years but not the last few, you're in for an extra treat--I think they finally paved the parking area!  (It's 6:07 in the morning so my memory's a bit groggy, but I'll take a peek on my way to the riverbank later...)  For more information, the club has a website that's in the process of massive updates but the URL is still working: and there's also a Facebook page, public group, under Bitterroot Gem and Mineral Society.

If anyone does make it and wants to do a spot of VERY local rockhounding, I had our awesome treasurer take a look at a couple of things I found on said riverbank at last night's meeting.  One he IDd as aventurine, a fairly hefty river-cobble chunk in a lovely pale mint green with hints of aqua.  The other, also worn smooth, is an 8-inch-long roughly triangular piece with lovely brecciated bits in it that I was sure was "just" jasper.  Silly me..."What Is It, Wayne" says it's wood!  (I frequently refer to him as What Is It Wayne because that's how I tend to greet him at meetings, and I think he knows every rock in this valley by first and last name...)  Specifically, he called it 'bog wood', so what I've got is a chunk of fossilized swamp full of previously-fossilized and then broken-up driftwood!  It's nice and rainy and gross today, so I'm going to see if the river will still let me sneak under the bridge from the fishing access and look for any more awesomeness.  I'd also be happy to catch up with visiting board members at the show (which is all of like 6 blocks from my front door) and show them the huge "cobble bars" in the Bitterroot River if spring flooding hasn't covered them all by then--and if it has, you'll still know where there's free parking at the fishing access if you make it back when the waters recede.  dancer5
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2016, 09:50:13 am »

Your show looks like it will be awesome but it is a bit of a distance from Central California. We had our show about a month ago an like yours we emphasize getting young people in the door. They really make a big difference in the atmosphere of the show.
I'm the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies Membership Chairman so I'm always going to our shows and promoting the show activities relating to membership. One thing that bothers me is the lack of focus on utilizing the largest pool of potential new members as a resource of getting new members. Clubs work very hard to get the attendance at their show up as much as possible but they drop the ball when it comes to fully investing their efforts in recruiting new members from that pool of attendees. We have a fully manned membership table located in the path of the normal flow of spectators, not at the admittance area because there is too much going on there that causes distractions from the membership table. My wife mans the table most of both show days. She has a large sign on the wall behind her that has a led lighted border, a disco ball on her table and an abalone dish with candy. As the kids are dragging their parents around they spot the disco ball and the candy dish so they drag their parents over to the table. She asks them to please don't touch the disco ball and also asks the kids a geology related question such as what is the state rock (serpentine for California and there is one sitting on the table) and gives them a piece of candy for the answer or for the effort to answer. All of this gives her an opportunity to engage in conversation with the parents and from that question she starts her sales pitch to see if they are interested in joining the club. All of this focus on membership and recruiting new members really is effective in extracting potential new members to the club from the show attendance. We have a rather large attendance so she gets to interact with a lot of people. This year resulted in 30 new member applications being filled out at the show. Most of the time each application results in two new members, husband and wife. I'm encouraging any club to adapt this procedure because it really works in increasing the membership rolls.
Bob Rush
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