Saddened to hear that detectorist Mike Race passed suddenly January 4th. Mike and his wife Sue were well known throughout the hobby and treasure hunt circuit. If there was a detecting event being held Mike and Sue were there and could always be counted on to give of their time and talents when needed.

Mike was also a big help to me in the beginning stages of the FMDAC and served as president in the early 90’s. RIP my friend and happy hunting…..

Fay and I send our condolences to Sue and family.

Larry Cooley, Mike Race, Lee Caldwell, Bruce Hazelman and the late Joe Cook….what a crew!


Would I Do it All Over Again…

…if I could?  Would I have gotten so involved in this pastime/business that it caused me to uproot and move my family 1500 miles? Would I make the same choices all over again?

It’s difficult looking back over almost 50 years of metal detecting. You see that’s 600 months of beeps and 18,250 days of not finding the big one. To parse all that time into an accurate assessment is impossible. There has been both good and bad. I’ve traveled to places I never dreamed of and I survived an F4 tornado that forced Fay and I to start our lives over. I’ve met a lot of great people and I’ve met a few not so great…fortunately the great far outweigh the bad ones though it sometimes takes a while to sort them out.

Moving from New Jersey to Texas was difficult and at times still is. Unknowingly and unintentionally locations shape and influence you and it takes a toll when you are far away from familiar faces and places. Since moving to Texas in 1988 I’ve lost my Mom, Dad, my brother and his wife as well as other more removed relatives. I regret not being there to be with them during their last days. It’s been 31 years and I still miss home and all that it means.

During the FMDAC startup and the move to Texas I was oblivious to what was really happening. I was chasing what I thought was utopia, Shangri-la. I was making a name for myself and miracle of miracles making a living detecting, or so I thought. In reality and what I didn’t realize, I had given it up. The fun part was over. I was working in the pastime but not really ‘digging’ it. I was also ignoring my family in the process.

We Yankees arrive in Texas, 1988

It’s interesting now to watch the various internet personalities do their thing on Facebook and YouTube, today’s vehicles to instant fame. They’re very good at what they do and a few are real entrepreneurs, going all out to garner followers, likes, views, votes, shares and in some cases, money. I wonder though if one day they too will look back and realize that they miss the simplicity of just getting out in the field and detecting. Detecting without all the baggage. Detecting without needing to promote the latest, coolest equipment, accessories and without having to record it all for social media and their sponsors (a.k.a manufacturers).

Understand I see things differently now based on my age and what I like to call “time in grade”…a military term for the length of time it takes for promotion to the next grade (50 years ought to make me at least a Colonel, dammit).  Anyway go for it while you can. Buy everything you ‘think’ you need, make videos, be a rock star, push the company line and have fun. Remember however it’s just one, very small part of your life. It’s a hobby that offers outdoor exercise, excitement, and history and despite what you read and hear it ain’t rocket science!

So would I do it all over again if I could? Hard to say but all things considered I’m pretty certain I would opt to stay back in the New Jersey woods, looking for cellar holes, picnic groves and having fun again.

Hindsight is wonderful isn’t it?




Filed under Metal Detecting

20 responses to “Introspection…


    “simplicity of just getting out in the field and detecting” is one of the benefits but I enjoyed the complexity of the research and the challenge of getting permission to detect a property. Would I Do it All Over Again…: Nice article, thank you.

    • Thanks Bob. Of course research is part of the overall experience and enjoyment. I was referring to having to constantly promote yourself and your equipment.

  2. There’s an old saying that your hobby should never become your work. But that’s what you did and came out the other side reasonably unscathed. That said, you have experienced more than many have in a lifetime. It’s honed you to what you are today…RESPECTED and a man worth listening to when it comes to this hobby. Not forgetting of course that behind every great man is a great lady.

    I was going to add ‘generous,’ but there’s a small matter of 20 Bucks…

    • “reasonably unscathed”? what do it mean?

      Stop with the 20 bucks, jeezus. YOU owe ME 20 bucks…somehow your memory is very, very selective and so far I have kept the secret of WHY you needed it. Keep annoying me and Margaret gets an email from me.

  3. Todd Sims

    Nice write up Dick. Your words made me stop and ponder a few things in my life.

  4. john taylor

    So dick I want to determine if I got this right. You are saying you was a “pitchman” for a detector manufacturer over the years and this is how you made a living in the industry? Please feel free to correct this if it is incorrect!..thanks!


    • John I was indeed. When I went to work at Garrett I pushed the product and made a living. When I left I joined the White’s team in the sense that I was a writer and field tester. As of today I am an independent and waiting for another company to support my wine habit.

      • And John let me add as well that you’re only useful to these companies if you’re constantly shouting their praises. Slow down, grow old and they don’t know you. Am I bitter? You bet.

      • john taylor

        I understand Dick! It IS what i surmised!..they paid you to lie about their detectors! How quaint!
        How cute! ..well ya got company in that’s what Myers was doin” all those years at W&E..still,i liked reading’ about the detectors,because he was good at blowing sunshine up my arse!..he! he! he! To be truthful, we NEED kenny white to un-retire and hire some engineers at Sweet Home because the “turks” are blowing’ everyone out of the water with their new designs and whitey seems to be the moment.


      • John let me set the record straight. I NEVER lied about anything when I was promoting the White’ product line. It was and still is a good detector. Could they use some updating? Probably. My dissatisfaction or bitterness has nothing at all to do with the product line and is nothing I care to discuss further.

        As for Ben Myers….he’s a stand up guy and does a helluva job with his field tests. You will find his criticisms, if any, within the reports. They are fine tuned to not offend anyone. If you’re looking for a treasure hunting magazine that tears down a product you aren’t going to find one. Just the nature of the beast and pretty much standard with any product and related magazine.

  5. So sorry to hear about Mike Race, Dick…seems our line is thinning out, as more of us are heading out to that big vacant lot in the sky, where gold coins are the norm, and no one asks what your are looking for, because you can say “I’ve already found what I was looking for.”

    I had no idea you’d left NJ for the FMDAC start-up…Texas is a tough place to live in itself. I lived in San Antonio for quite a few years and was not particularly impressed with it myself, since I always seem to get divorced there in Bexar County for some reason…probably not the fault of Texas, though.

    Funny you should mention that you soon ended metal detecting when you got into the administration side of thing…same here, I’ve begun to noticed recently. I am planning to go detecting tomorrow right after my 8 am oil change for the car, a visit to my doctor, a visit to the supermarket, a stop at Loews for a new garbage disposal, then installing said disposal, then take Patti to a late lunch, then…

    You take care of yourself Dick…I have always enjoyed your books and articles and your honesty, and even your complaining a bit. Just a bit. Maybe a trip home should be in the works, my friend.

    • Jim we are indeed thinning out. Goes with the territory and getting older. So you know I didn’t leave NJ “for” the FMDAC startup. I left NJ to accept the Director of Marketing position with Garrett (BECAUSE of my FMDAC involvement). In hindsight it was a mistake, for a lot of reasons. Texas has a life of it’s own…

      Please don’t forget any of those chores tomorrow and enjoy the beeps. Appreciate the kind words and I’ll try to do better with the complaining. In the meantime stay the hell off my lawn!

  6. Tony from Bayonne

    Dick, first off – R.I.P. Mike, you were one special guy that made me smile along with everyone around us no matter where we met!

    Dick, your post always show that you were there for all of us, so thanks. Don’t worry about Jersey or the you-tubers, things always change. Jersey certainly has, please believe me. I am convinced that its’ us that remain the same and refuse to change. So smile and enjoy the ride!

    • Tony I’m fine. I’m just at that stage in life where I have the time to reflect on things and after a glass or two of red you guys suffer the consequences. What can I say, I’m becoming my Dad and I’m proud of that. Have one for me tonight….

  7. Frank Blazi

    Colonel Dick, saddened by the passing of Mike,he seemed like a great guy. May he rest in peace.

    I don’t make you tube videos, although I do enjoy watching them.I actually sneak off detecting every chance I get. Any work I have to do will wait for me to come back from the woods. This drives my wife crazy! Most of the time I hunt alone,no drones,no cameras,just a detector a shovel,pinpointer and a pouch.

    I’m not a member of any companies’ field test team because it would cut into my detecting time. I do post my finds on Facebook occasionally after all,I am a member of society.

    Love your blog, Colonel! Keep ’em coming.

    • Frank I don’t begrudge tekkies from doing all the online stuff. I just come from a different era and it was a simpler time.

      Thanks for the kind words and carry on Sergeant!!

  8. I was also sorry to hear of Mike’s passing. I met him and Sue once, two years ago at the Gettysburg militaria Show. They were both as nice and kind as can be, very welcoming when I spoke to the FMDAC annual meeting there. Sue and I remain Facebook friends, as we also have in common the fact that we both live full time in our RVs. This really knocked her for a loop, but she seems to be doing as well as anyone could expect.

    • In the early days of the FMDAC Mike and Sue were always ready to help, no matter where, no matter when, no matter what. Terrific people and real ambassadors for the pastime. Thanks Mary.

  9. john taylor

    Hi Dick!
    Sorry for the late reply!..just getting back on…everything is “kool” Dick! i realize you had to tell the truth MOST of the time! It was either that,or find “new” employment! As far as Whitey is concerned,I used their equipment for years and years and found lots of “kool” stuff. I like whitey’s offerings,but they are getting “beat up” and if they don’t make some moves,they will be going the way of Tesoro,and this will sadden me,because, BOTH Whites,and Tesoro have been great companies over the years! Ben Meyers is “indeed” a “stand up” guy!. I always enjoyed his articles,but YOU know as well as I do,and just about every w&e reader,that very seldom did you ever see any negativity regarding the various instruments written about! They (detector manufacturers) are NOT gonna pay somebody to be critical of the equipment in print simply because they (detector manufacturers) are trying to
    sell the machines to the general public…anyway be that as it may, I bear no malice towards you or anyone who has a “different” opinion than me! Have another glass of “red” Dick and may you collect your debt from John Howland!

    John T.

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