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Rock Chippers prep for Round-up this weekend

It’s always the biggest event of the year for local rock hounds, the Tall Man Rock Chippers Club annual Rock Round-up, set for May 17-18 at the Lake County Fairgrounds.

Normally the festive and widely attended multi-day event for fans of jewelry and rock collecting takes place in August each year, but this time around a move to earlier in the year was suggested for several reasons.

The Tall Man Rock Chippers Club has been an active club in the Lakeview community since the 1970s, with current membership being around 20 active participants. Activities with the club include field trips to collect rock samples, rock polishing and decorating, and potlucks. They hold monthly club meetings on the first Tuesday of every month at the Lake County Chamber of Commerce building at 7 p.m.

Planning all year goes into the big Rock Round-Up going down this weekend, with many vendors coming from out of town to participate in the fun. With the abundance of sought after minerals near Lakeview such as sunstones, jasper, agates, and petrified wood, it makes the area an attractive location for rock enthusiasts.

The fun begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 17, with field trips planned leaving to Hay Creek in search of sunstones, petrified wood, and other commodities, weather permitting. Other trips may occur during the course of the weekend should weather allow.

Doors at the fairgrounds open at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and the event runs until 5 p.m. The same hours of operation will continue on Sunday, May 18.

Admission is free to the event, though donations are graciously accepted. Club members are providing door prizes, given out every hour, with plenty of activities planned for kids and adults alike. There is also a Friday evening dinner for club members and vendors.

A children’s treasure hunt in the fairgrounds parking lot is planned, where according to Rock Chippers Pres. LeRoy Johnson often times the kids will come back with ten times the amount of rocks that were hidden. Silent auctions will also be held, while many dealers will be present with unique and rare stones and jewelry on display for purchase or exhibit, with each club member also providing their various wares.

For Johnson and other Rock Chipper club members the enthusiasm of the hunt never wanes when out searching for something interesting in the dirt.

“It’s the surprise of what you find, finding a rock and then grinding it down to see what’s inside,” said Johnson at the April Tall Man Rock Chippers Club meeting. “Sometimes you find some amazing things, it’s just the wonder of what’s there.”

The Lake County Fairgrounds are located at 1900 N. 4th St. in Lakeview.

For more information on the Tall Man Rock Chippers Club or the Rock Round-Up, contact LeRoy Johnson at 541-947-4267, or Mark Dietrich at the Hi Desert Rock Shop at 541-880-8787.

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