By Antoinette Rahn
The Sublette County Rock Hounds group is a relative newcomer when it comes to the world of formal rockhound organizations, but its short existence hasn’t limited its successful progress and innovation.
The group, which formed in 2016, came about, explained Club President and Show Chairman Jim Gray, after the Wyoming State Mineral & Gem Society “persisted over a span of 10 years,” asking Gray to start a club in Sublette County. It may have been one of the best decisions he’s made for his enjoyment of rockhounding and that of his neighbors in Sublette County.
Since forming, the club has held a show every year and hosts field trips, features lectures on a wide range of topics, and is currently working to develop a junior program using the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies’ (AFMS) junior rockhound program guidelines, Gray explained. Presently, club membership tops 220, and 20% of the members are under the age of 18. What an exciting time for this club!
In addition to the exciting programming and expansion of its club culture, the Sublette County Rock Hounds will serve as host to both the Rocky Mountain Federation of Mineralogical Societies and AFMS 2021 conventions during the club’s show June 18-20, 2021.
“The Sublette County Rockhounds are honored to host these conventions. We hosted the RMFMS convention in 2020, and it was very successful,” Gray said. “We feel privileged to welcome the AFMS and believe it to be a huge accomplishment for a fairly new club located in a rural area to be asked to host their convention! We appreciate everything the RMFMS and AFMS have to offer to the individual clubs, such as educational information and technical support.”
The club’s show promises to deliver excitement, fun, learning, and an array of knowledgeable people (vendors, society leaders, local club members) to answer questions and share knowledge. Plus, the group is working hard to provide a safe and sanitized setting for people of all ages to come and explore the wonder of rocks, minerals, gems, fossils, and lapidary arts.
Looking back on the relatively short but successful history of the Sublette County Rock Hounds group, Gray described a group of people committed to encouraging one another in their pursuits of knowledge and experiences — not to mention a group that is eager to share the love of rockhounding and lapidary art with anyone who expresses an interest. When asked for four words to describe the spirit of the club, Gray said, “dedicated, friendly, willing, and grateful,” which all sound like key ingredients in forming a club that has an impact larger than the sum of its parts and a legacy that is just taking shape.
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