Robitaille holds onto goldpanning crown
Paul Robitaille held onto his first place standing in the Yukon Open class at the 2012 Yukon Goldpanning Championships held in Dawson City on Canada Day.
Photo by Dan Davidson
Top: WINNERS’ CIRCLE – Yukon Open winners Paul Robitaille, Ralph Nordling and David Millar are seen left to right. Behind them is Brian Stethem, the chair of the Klondike Visitors Association. Bottom: CURIOUS CROWD – The venue for last Sunday’s 2012 goldpanning championships was Front Street in Dawson City.
DAWSON CITY – Paul Robitaille held onto his first place standing in the Yukon Open class at the 2012 Yukon Goldpanning Championships held in Dawson City on Canada Day.
Robitaille recovered all six flakes of gold in three minutes and four seconds.
He was followed closely by his mentor, David Millar, with a time of 3:23, and by Ralph Nordling at 3:46. Both competitors have been winners in past years.
There were 16 entrants in the contest.
Robitaille took a prize of $2,500 to assist him in attending the World Goldpanning Championships, which will be held Oct. 1 - 7 in Pilgrim’s Rest, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa, at the Mac Mac Panning Club.
Millar also won a cash prize of $1,500.
The afternoon was blessed with lots of sunshine and just the occasional cloud to provide a bit of shade.
Both the stands and the dike hillside were lined with spectators.
It would be hard to say if the numbers were up or down from previous years.
However, there is no doubt that the crowd remained strong through the four-hour event, and for once it did not start to rain about the time the awards were being handed out.
The Klondike Open (14 participants) had a different result, with Millar panning seven of the eight flakes in 6:39, brother Dirk Millar also finding seven in 8:32 and Robitaille coming in a weak third with only four of the flakes for a time of 15:05.
Fortunately for him, this event came before the Yukon Open, so he could consider it a warm-up event. Clearly, he was back in form for the Yukon Open later in the afternoon.
In the Sourdough Open (six contestants in all, 60 or older), with nine flakes to be found, Dianne Schroeder found eight to take first place in 6:15.
Coleman Johnson was second at 3:42, and Arthur Sailer found four flakes for a total time of 19:28. The rules stipulate a penalty of three minutes for each missing flake.
There was an abundance of entries (31) in the Cheechako Open (for novice panners) this year, so there had to be two heats.
Simon Luca found all 11 flakes in 5:45 to claim first prize.
Barry Bouhard captured second with a time of 7:15, and Rachel Ryckman found 10 in 7:46.
There were 28 flakes to be found in the Corporate Challenge (three teams), which was won by the 98 Drive-in team.
They found 26 flakes in a total time of 21 minutes.
The Goldbottom Team panned 25 flakes in 29 minutes.
The third-place Ryan Gold team seemed to indicate they are better at finding soil samples than panning for gold.
Their team was plagued by disaster, as they dumped part of the dirt pail without panning it and subsequently knocked their gold vial into the panning tank.
They could only produce six flakes in the end, with a total time (mostly penalties) of 85 minutes.
The Youth Under 11 Years category had 16 participants looking for 12 flakes. Hudson Huffman found 10 of them for a first place time of 12:55.
Makenzie McDonald and Jania Popadynec both found eight, at times of 12:57 and 24:27 respectively.
The Youth 12-15 Years category was the smallest, with only two participants.
Michaella DeCook panned 10 of the 12 flakes in a time of 14:27 and Isaac Pope found seven in a time of 20:49.