Those of you who frequent this forum (especially the general gold forum) are familiar with posts by Gerry in Idaho (https://www.detectorprospector.com/profile/182-gerry-in-idaho/)
who among other things is a full-time multiline dealer with 40 years of metal detecting experience and 20 years detecting for native gold. He conducts four 3-day training classes each year, two in central Nevada (Rye Patch) and two in Southeast Oregon. The tuition varies depending upon whether or not and which detector you've bought from him. You can see the details on his website (http://gerrysdetectors.com/training/), on one of his Ebay ads (e.g. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Minelab-GPX-5000-Metal-Detector-with-7-Coils-3-Days-Gold-Nugget-Training/273599397260?hash=item3fb3cb7d8c:g:2zsAAOSw5tNb-KBu:rk:1:pf:0&LH_ItemCondition=3000) or by calling him. He hasn't asked me (nor did he know until I told him in an e-mail today) that I'm writing this review, so everything here is strictly my view/opinion from having taken the class. Everything is from memory so there may be some errors but I'll count on responses from others in attendance to correct my inaccuracies.
Overview: The class consists of one day of 'lecture' and two days of 'lab' (in-field experience). Gerry himself conducts most of the lecture part (Lunk: https://www.detectorprospector.com/profile/401-lunk/ talked about coil design and applications) but the meat is the hands-on training for which is provided an expert staff of assistants. Each day consisted of (approximately) 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM contact with 30-60 minute lunch break.
Demographics: There were 16 students in attendance (18 signed up with 2 no-shows) and a total of five instructors (besides Gerry and Lunk: Scott, Mark, and Spencer) for a very generous 1::3 teacher to student ratio. The 16 students were from the following states (I may have missed a couple): California, Nevada, Montana, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Texas, South Dakota, Illinois, Indiana, and Virginia. My estimation of age split is two younger than 50 years old. (I'd like to think I, at age 65, was about the median but probably in the highside tail....😞) All were male although some brought spouses/significant others. Four of the five instructors were from Idaho and the fifth from Nevada. (I think 2/5 were under 50 but I may be being generous. 😁) We wore nametags with first name, state of residence, and detector.
Location, etc: Many here are familiar with the Rye Patch area, a high (4000 ft elevation), relatively flat desert with little vegetation. The site of the actual class is only 15 miles driving distance from the I-80 superhighway and all but the last 1.5 miles are on maintained 2-lane 'gravel' road. One student actually arrived daily (by commute from nearby town) in a 2wd compact (Ford Escape?) which was likely challenging over the last 1.5 miles of rutted single lane road. The area where we met had several 'primitive' (no ammenities) camping spots and about half the attendees took advantage of that, all the way from tents to fully-outfitted travel trailers. The weather was quite cooperative (typically mid-60's and sunny daytime but freezing or lower overnight) with no precip. The lecture part was outdoors with seating provided. No sound system (but Gerry didn't need one).
Requirements: basically few, but you were allowed to train on one detector (pre-approved to make sure at least one instructor had familiarity with it) and any accompanying family members could sit in the lecture but otherwise would receive no field training.
Detectors: nine students brought the Minelab GPZ 7000, three brought Minelab GPX's (mostly 4500's but I think there may have been one 5000) and one SDC 2300, 1 1/2 White's Golmaster 24k and 1 1/2 Minelab Equinox 800. (1 1/2 because Gerry made an exception on the "one detector per student" rule for someone to train one day on each.)
Day 1 Lecture: began with personal introductions of all 21 (students and staff). Gerry related some of his many experiences in the morning session, including lots of detector info. Afternoon began with explanations equipment he brought for sale (and why he stakes his reputation on them) then continuation of general detecting advice. The day ended with a demonstration of how the various technologies (PI, VLF, ZVT) respond to various types and sizes of native gold in air tests. Much of the day was a review for me since I've read a lot of articles, forum posts, and books on finding gold. The highlight was the last part where the different gold specimens were exposed to the detectors and the responses (or lack of such) were demonstrated.
Days 2&3 lab / hands-on experience: As mentioned above, this was for me by far the most valuable part of the course. Students were split into five groups (typically 3 per group) and assigned instructors for anywhere from 2 to 4 hours of personal training. The division was by detector type, so there were three Z7000 groups, one PI group, and one VLF group. The instructors were rotated such that each group experienced the expertise of each of the five instructors. Their styles varied but I learned something from each. For example, it was interesting to see the different setups preferred between instructors for the same detector (in my case the Eqx 800). One added feature is that if a student got a promising signal (verified by an instructor) the others were given the option of watching the dig and (more importantly) trying their own detectors pre-recovery to monitor the response. Day 2 training was close to the lecture site and day 3 was another part of the area.
Summary/Conclusion: I was one of the few who paid the full tuition (since I had not bought my detector from Gerry) and it was worth every penny. The comaraderie was great (kind of like on this website 😁) with (as far as I experienced) no bickering and a lot of encouragement and support among the participants. There was not a weak link among the instructors. I was left wishing for more, but that only emphasizes my satisfaction of 3 full days of instruction/training. I think a majority of GPZ swingers found gold but the rest of us (PI's and VLF's) drew blanks (well, until the encore, for me: https://www.detectorprospector.com/forums/topic/8195-lost-my-gold-virginity/).
By Ridge Runner
You know why you go and I know why I do . Go that is.
We all want to see what’s new plus we get caught up in the excitement that flows in the air..
The first thing I want to look at is another pinpointer that Steve H. had been talking about. I don’t think I’ll see that new 6” coil lots of us are waiting on to get here.
My wife ask what I wanted for my birthday coming here in May. I told her money and don’t give it to me because I’m waiting on this new coil. She ask didn’t you just get a small coil for a detector and I said yes but that was for another detector.She did say let me know when it comes in and I’ll pay for it. Got to love them!
Sorry about that my thinking jump the track a little.
I got a friend coming down from Ok. to go with me to that show.I told him we going to need lots of money. So that’s the main thing I hope he don’t forget a little thing like that.
I don’t see myself coming home with a new detector but like said a pinpointer will be mine.
The Best to you on the next Treasure and Gold Show you attend. May your cup run over with whatever you wish for.
By Steve Herschbach
8PM U.S. Eastern Time Monday March 19 or catch the recorded podcast later.
Talking detecting with host Mike Haer.
Listen to "Steve Hershbach" on Spreaker.