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Long time participant wins top digger award in 30th annual World Championship Crystal Dig

Dale Almond has participated in all 30 World Championship Crystal Digs. He was named the overall point winner at this year's event.



MOUNT IDA – You won’t hear Dale Almond say resilience doesn’t pay off after this year’s 30th annual World Championship Quartz Crystal Dig.

In what some might call a poetic turn of events, Dale Almond of Yellville, Arkansas turned in the overall top score of the event. Almond is the only contestant to participate in every year of the event. He stated at the event that this would be his last year. However, attendees admitted he has made that claim in the past only to return the next year.

Almond has won individual category awards before and has finished in the Top 10 several years. It seemed right that someone as dedicated to the event as Almond would win the overall title the first year they award the prize.

The dig was a resounding success this year with 135 quartz crystal diggers from 18 states registered for this year’s 30th Annual World Championship Quartz Crystal Dig.

Diggers ranged in age from nine years old to 87. Championship volunteers stated that at least one participant listed their age as “Over the Hill”.

Diggers was able to dig in one of three locations in two different mines. They were not allowed to change locations throughout the course of the day, but could choose a new location the second day. They dug in one of two pits at Twin Creeks Mine, or at Sweet Surrender Mine.

Bobby Lawrence from Gold Hill, Oregon won the Clusters Division with Derek Brazauskas (Carrollton, Texas) finishing second and Martin Gallardo (Fort Worth, Texas) finishing third.

Atanya Smith of Dover, Tennessee won the Points Division, followed by Henry Marek (Houston, Texas) in second place and Michael Birch (Bonne Terre, Missouri) in third.

Hannah Bruntzel of Missouri claimed the prize in the Young Miners Division, followed by Daniel Miller of Oklahoma in second place and Kinley Garrigus of Missouri in third place.

The Club Division winner for the club with the highest score was Heart of Wisconsin Gem & Mineral Society.

The Club Division winner for the club with the most members participating was Colorado Mineral Society.

The Club Division had 30 members from 12 gem and mineral clubs compete in the dig this year.

All in all the Quartz, Quiltz and Craftz Festival was considered a success. Festival officials reported over 2000 people were in attendance throughout the weekend event.

The Montgomery County Fairgrounds were full with cars parking outside the fenced in area Saturday.

The Craft Show was well attended with a variety of vendors offering everything from homemade jams and jellies to 3-D printing.

Nancy Pollard’s quilt, Dragon Pane, was selected as the People’s Choice winner at the annual quilt show.

For more on the QQC Festival check out the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.