The Western Dakota Gem and Mineral Society hosted the 2018 RMFMS annual convention and show in the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, South Dakota, on July 20-22. By all accounts Show Chairperson Martin Kocanda and his staff did an outstanding job. I arrived early on Friday and was greeted by a variety of WDGMS club members, coordinated by Judith Gordy, and the ever-present Janet Smith, the Federation Credentials Chair. The Civic Center offered free parking in downtown Rapid City and the ~30 vendors, demonstrations, display cases, etc. occupied a very large and open space. Lori Green did a fantastic job in rounding up a great variety of vendors who had large displays of items “for sale.” I was pleased to be able to visit with Tom Loomis of Dakota Matrix Minerals. Tom is the resident expert on Black Hills phosphate minerals and actually owns one of the premier collecting sites in the Hills, the world famous (for phosphate minerals) Tip Top Mine. I was able to pick up five new phosphate minerals from the Hills for my collection. My home state of Colorado sent five dealers to the Show (check out RMFMS.org for a complete list of vendors).
John Dickinson of WDGMS had put together a nice group of speakers and Barbara Beasley of the United States Forest Service lead off the session with information on Forest Service fossil collecting rules and regulations. As we all know, the collecting rules are complex, but Barb was able to distill down the essence of the regulations in understandable terms. Perhaps that skill was due to her university training—she was a student on mine back in the early 1990s! Shortly after Barb’s talk the audience was mesmerized by Professor Alvis Lisenbee’s (South Dakota Tech) presentation describing the Precambrian geology of the Black Hills. The speaker following was unable to attend; therefore, the audience was able to pepper Dr. Lisenbee with numerous geological questions. I was able to attend a few other sessions and the speakers presented an incredible amount of information ranging from highway safety to mosasaurs and mammoths.
Early Saturday morning the annual Editor’s Breakfast was held at the Center. Linda Jaeger, the RMFMS Club Publications Chair, presented a variety of ribbons and trophies to clubs and members documenting their writing, photo, and website skills. A complete list of “winners” will be published in the RMFMS Newsletter.
Saturday afternoon President Liz Thomas presided over the House of Delegates meeting (I represented the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society). Most Officers and Committee Chairs previously submitted written reports for distribution before the meeting commenced. As Chair of the International Relations Committee (IRC) and the Public Lands Access Committee (PLAC) I explained to the Delegates that the PLAC took up a very large amount of time, especially if letters were needed to protest road closures in National Forests. My major concern for the year was watching over, and writing opinion pieces on, BLM draft regulations concerning the collection of vertebrate fossils. Most IRC duties involved answering questions from international visitors about "where to collect minerals." There was little discussion about these reports and I presume they will become available on the Federation website. Judy Beck presented information about changes to the Bylaws and Operating Procedures that elicited some discussion; however, the changes ultimately were accepted by the Delegates. My contribution to the meeting was to move that Editor Heather Woods be thanked with a hearty round of applause. Motion carried unanimously! Most likely the members wanted to prepare for the evening “Happy Hour and Banquet.”
Opening day for the vendors and displays on Friday morning.
A competative display case.
Dennis Beals from Colorado Springs checking emails while waiting for a customer!
I thought this specimen of wire silver was fantastic.
Erythrite is a cobalt arsenate.
Check out the “rounded” fluorite on the bottom row.
My vote for best mineral in the Show: barite crystals on calcite from Elk Creek, South Dakota (Cretaceous Pierre Shale).
Bubble Gum Agates from the South Dakota grasslands.
Woodies Rock Shop drew a steady stream of customers after Keokuk Agates and especially enjoyed the large cracking machine.
Members of the WDGMS, guided by Tabitha Woods, labored away for three days selling hundreds of specimens at the Silent Auction.
A great Children’s area was monitored by Ellen Tilley.
My favorite demonstration, by Truman Goddard—making spheres with a variety of scavenged spare machinery pieces.