Billy Barker himself will be on hand at the competition to teach the finer points of gold panning. (Lindsay Chung - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Billy Barker himself will be on hand at the competition to teach the finer points of gold panning. (Lindsay Chung - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Quesnel gold panning competition washing into Ceal Tingley Park

Shane Wright hopes to turn the historical event into an annual celebration of gold rush history

Ceal Tingley Park in Quesnel will be buzzing on Sept. 4 and 5, as Quesnel will once again host a gold panning competition.

Shane Wright, who is organizing the event, says competitions like this have been lacking in the Cariboo for the past few years, with the last such competition in Barkerville nearly a decade ago.

“The idea with this competition is it’s a yearly event to keep the link between Barkerville and Quesnel alive, keep the history alive and relevant,” he said. “If we can keep the Egyptians relevant from thousands of years ago, we can keep this relevant from 150 years ago.”

Wright also hosts a gold rush history podcast called the ReDiscoverers and owns the Evolve Gold & Gaming Lounge, with the weekend also marking the grand re-opening of the lounge.

READ MORE: HAPHAZARD HISTORY: The lost Chinese mine near Quesnel Forks

Registration for gold panning, a highbanker relay race starts at 9 a.m. on Sept. 7. Wright said he took inspiration from reality TV shows and other entertainment to try and envision what a modern gold panning competition will look like.

“It’s meant for excitement, and I think that’s the only way it’s going to get people out, it’s the only way to keep it relevant,” he said.

Wright said Billy Barker himself will be on hand on Saturday and Sunday to teach kids the art of gold panning.

“I just want people to come out and have a good time,” he said. “The kids get to keep all the gold they find as well. There won’t be a kid there that doesn’t leave with gold fever.”

Interpreters from Barkerville will also be doing guided tours, with some mining companies putting up booths.

READ MORE: Barkerville ineligibility for B.C. funding program attracts criticism from provincial Liberals

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: cassidy.dankochik@quesnelobserver.com


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