The Denver Show:
September In The Rockies
December 8, 2006
By John Cornish

As the snow melts and the gurgling fall of it echoes from my gutters and drain spouts, I think again, as I have many times since coming home, how wonderful it is to have just returned from visiting Colorado and the Rockies. This seems the weather more appropriate to that clime as compared to here, a scant mile or two from the lapping waters of Puget Sound, on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. But such is the way of things and truly, all truth told, I'm much happier to find the white and wintry coverings of snow here, rather than on the road traveling all those many miles to Denver, there to attend and participate in our Country's second largest mineral event, the Denver Show.

The Denver Show as I'm referring to it is actually an event of not just one show, but many ( for details of the events I attend, please consider visiting the following links...

and each year now since 2002, I've been privileged to be a part of it. First as an enthusiast and then later in 2003, for the very first time again, as an enthusiastic participant offering my own treasures ( I've had some truly wonderful experiences during this event and this year proved to be as equally satisfying and memorable.

As these trips always do, this one began with packing and traveling. Thankfully, both activities transpired without any real inconveniences. I left early on a Tuesday morning, all wound up and unable to sleep and headed east to catch a ferry boat over to the mainland. It was a foggy slow drive and I missed my boat. No matter, I was first to load on the next one. From there, it was all drive, drive, drive. The next day, in Denver, the fun began. I checked into my room at the Holiday Inn and off loaded part of my gear, hauled it inside and after a shower, I began stripping the room and then rebuilding it to create the Denver sales room of John Cornish Minerals. This proved a leisurely, relaxing experience. My display cases would show up the following afternoon and I had plenty of time. When my cases finally arrived and were set in place, my official set up began.


Off and flying, this was a big year, my first (another first!) in my own room and what a room it was, number 107, and I couldn't be more happy! I'd enjoyed several terrific years previously sharing a room with Scott Kleine of Great Basin Minerals at the show, but nothing quite beats having a room of one's own. And so, with my stuff spread haphazardly over everything, my rooms slow construction began.


Chores: Wash the glass, set up the lights, cover the base of the cases and the tables in clean cloth and then set up the shelves, bring out the rocks, arrange them, arrange them a couple more times and then set up my sales area; the electrical cords, the calculator, the receipt books and all the other little odds and ends required and then, bring out and set up my newest cool thing, my slide show! Gloria and I picked up a laptop computer and loaded a continually looping slide show highlighting activities on our Rat's Nest and Summer Storm claims. As it cycled through in the background, it was neat to see and I thought it'd be a great enhancement to our presentation.

Wanting to make a good first impression in our new first floor room, I'd worked diligently to assemble our finest offering yet at this show and as each new shelf filled, I knew there'd be many treasures going up which would not be coming home come the end of the show. Hopefully there'd be a little something for everyone.

Over the course of the next couple days, everything was made perfect and when the door was finally opened for sales, I was ready. These days were hectic, but they were fun too, lots of smiles as friends stop by, both old and new, and the hours swiftly disappeared. After the craziness, a quiet dinner at one of Denver's local restaurants was a welcome treat. The one social event I took in at this year's show was held at the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum ( in Golden, a small community half an hour from the hotel. This was my first time visiting the museum and I must admit to being completely and totally overwhelmed by the quality of the specimens displayed. Unbelievable this followed by unbelievable that, an impressive collection in every sense and one I'd wholeheartedly encourage everyone to see!

Later that week, I attended the show at the Denver Merchandise Mart Expo Hall held by the Greater Denver Area Gem and Mineral Council. This is the Main Event for many attendees and I always visit the show several times, always in the early morning (so that I can get back to my room before things get too busy). There was as usual, an unbelievable hoard of natural treasures! What a fantastic obsession we have as mineral and fossil enthusiasts, there are so many beautiful and incredible things to entice and to amaze us, truly we are among the lucky!

For me, as many of you know, outreach and education is very important, obviously the folks of the GDAGMC feel this same way too. The best expression of this beyond the huge accomplishment of the show itself to my way of thinking, can be found in the Gold Panning area of the show. Feeling down, feeling blue? Just turn your steps towards this end of the building and prepare yourself for some serious fun. The hustle and bustle of this area must be seen to be believed! The kids are there in scores and everywhere there are smiles. This is fun in spades, our hobby at its very best! When I visit this area each year, my heart swells seeing how these folks share their passion, so many so selflessly, this is what it's all about!


And then, as the days ran by, the whirlwind finally settled down and all too soon it was time to go, another show's course been run. And the rocks get repacked and the lights get turned off and the computer shut down. The cases get picked up and the room gets rebuilt and then, everything all stuffed and crammed into the truck, I say my good-byes. Afterwards, that ol' S-10 and me, we're back on the road again, heading towards our next stop, this one in Challis, Idaho where soon I'd be starting up another specimen mining operation on our Rat's Nest claim. It'd been a wonderful show, our best thus far in Denver.

Coming up again next year in September, the Denver shows promise more fascinations and amazement's and I know I'll be there, I'll keep my fingers crossed we'll see you there too! Take care everyone and all the very best,