The 2016 World Gold Panning Championships

by Placerville Newswire / Mar 02, 2016 / comments

The El Dorado County Fairgrounds will look like the gold rush that started in 1848 when James Marshall discovered gold in the tailraces of his lumber mill, just a few miles away in Coloma, along the South Fork of the American River.

Competitors will be panning native sand and gravel to find placer gold in record time! It’s a gold panner’s dream to win a GOLD, SILVER or BRONZE medal in a World Championship Competition.

Panners from over 20 countries will be competing in categories that include: Juniors, Men, Women, Veterans, Classical Pan, 2-Person Team, 3-Person Team, 5-Person Team and The National Team.

TIME PLUS ACCURACY: 30 competitors at a time will each have a bucket with about 22 to 44 pounds of gravel that has been salted with 5-12 tiny pieces of gold. Competitors will not know the amount of gold in each heat. Each person’s time will be recorded and a 3-minute penalty added for each piece missed.

The competitors in each heat with the best time will keep advancing through quarter finals and semi finals until day 5 (Sunday) where the top 30 in each category will compete in the finals to determine the best in the world.

Competition Schedule

Sunday, May 1 – Online Registration Opens

Sunday, September 11 – Competition Registration Office is Open

Monday, September 12 – Competition Registration Office is Open

Tuesday, September 13 – Nations Parade in Downtown Placerville, Opening Ceremonies

Wednesday, September 14 – Competition Begins with Qualifying Rounds

Thursday, September 15 – Qualifying Rounds Continue

Friday, September 16 – Qualifying Rounds Continue

Saturday, September 17 – Quarter and Semifinal Heats

Sunday, September 18 – Finals, Awards & Closing Ceremonies


Lodging in El Dorado County is plentiful and ranges from Bed and Breakfasts, historic hotels, motels, beautiful Inns, vacation rentals, and much more. There are over 600 comfortable rooms within 20 miles of the Championships. For a list of local hotels please click here.


Camping is available at the competition site. The El Dorado County Fairgrounds will take camping and RV reservations directly via email. They will have water and electricity hookups available for RVs and trailers. Tents are $10 a night, RVs are $30 a night. RV dumps are available for an additional fee. Please email the El Dorado County Fairgrounds to make your reservation. You will need the vehicle size, length of stay and phone number to make your reservation.


Want to register for the Championship? REGISTRATION OPENS MAY 1, 2016

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