Family affair represents the true nature of gold panning

From uncles to cousins to sisters and brothers, the lineage of gold panning champions at the 44th annual championships in Taylor run deep.

On Sunday in the World Class ‘A’ invitational event at Peace Island Park, brothers Chris and Matthew Totusek got a chance to line up side-by-side in an event that their dad had been taking them to as long as they can remember.

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“I’ve been doing this since I was a kid,” Matthew said about his competition history.

“I was pretty anxious, started feeling butterflies in my stomach in the nugget round. It was pretty fun though. (My brother) brought me here to tag along, it was an awesome experience.”

Matthew, who finally made the A competition after sifting his way through the ranks on and off over the last 10 years, was just excited to see how he faired against his brother and some of the other long-time competitors.

“It was awesome, I cheered,” he said about the news he made it to the top class. “I thought I won, so it was actually pretty cool, I enjoyed it.”

His brother Chris, who has had some success at gold panning competitions across the province and in Alberta, said despite 15 years of experience, he still feels the nerves.

“It was not bad, pretty nerve wracking leading up to it and the days before, but as soon as you get here you know it’s on,” he said.

“You’re nervous and you want to do well, but try hard is pretty much it. Sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve been doing this for 10 to 15 years and sometimes you lose it. If you are trying to go quick and depending on how many chances you take sometimes it happens. Happened to me today.”

It was the first year the brothers hadn’t been at the competition with their dad, but they definitely remembered to carry on the early lessons he taught them in the sport.

“Just the weight,” Chris added. “It’s heavier than anything else in the pan. The more you shake it, gravity is going to take over and it will stay at the bottom and that was pretty simple for me to pick up and it just grew from there.”


2016 World Invitational Gold Panning Winners

Class A

Fine – Dave Coupland

Skill – Chris Totusek

Speed – Dave Coupland

1st – Dave Coupland

2nd – Tyson Gejdos

3rd – Brenda Gejdos


Class B

Fine – Matt Totusek

Skill – Dale Bice

Speed – Dale Bice

1st – Dale Bice

2nd – Matt Totusek

3rd – Griffin Frederickson


Class C Adult

1st – Kim Speaker

2nd – Angela Witmer

3rd – Scott Mcleod


Class C Juvenile

1st – Nicolas Mclean

2nd – Molly Koponyas

3rd – Cameron Mcleod



1st – Fred Jarvis

2nd – Rita F

3rd – Ron Eastcott


Juvenile Open

1st – Nyla Lunn

2nd – Molly Koponyas

3rd – Reba Vandenberg


All Out Pan Out

1st – Cameron Argo

2nd – Ken Montie, Dirk Vanderzalm

3rd – Scott Mcleod


Metal Detecting Adult

1st – Kelly Gejdos

2nd – Frank Gejdos

3rd – Brenda Gejdos


Metal Detecting Juvenile

1st – Molly Koponyas


Claimstaking Adult

1st – Barb Gejdos

2nd – Rowdy Rene

3rd – Tyson Gejdos


Claimstaking Juvenile

1st – Rhyse Howells

2nd – Mataya Howells

3rd – Frankie Barrette


Bannock Baking

1st – Brenda Gejdos

2nd – Sheena Taillefer & Edward Albury

3rd – Becky Scott & Alicia Scott

© Copyright Alaska Highway News


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