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  Personal Stories Contest

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We are Excited to Announce Our First MMS Writing Contest!

We are accepting articles from club members in TWO categories - Personal Stories and Scientific Articles.  Entries may be posted on our website as they are received.  A 1st Place winner and an Honorable Mention will be chosen. The prizes to be awarded will be $150 and $75, respectively. Judging by a panel of MMS Board members or editors will occur at the end of September, and the winning articles will be published in The Conglomerate newsletter. (See the Scientific Articles Contest page too.)

The 2023 MMS Club
Writing Contest

The Rules

CONTEST PERIOD: Entries must be submitted between May 1, 2023, through the end of the day on September 15, 2023.


ELIGIBILITY: This contest is open to all MMS members in good standing.


GUIDELINES: Your essay length must be a minimum of 500 words. All stories must be original and written in the last year.


SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS: Submit your story electronically in a Microsoft Word readable format or easily read electronic format like a PDF. Send your entry to ALL: Patti Graves-Wesolosky at, Paddy Benson at, and Brad Zylman at


When submitted, the email heading must read: MMS WRITING CONTEST 2023

If you do not receive a confirmation of receipt of your entry within seven days, please re-submit. The body of the email should include your name and relevant contact information and if it’s for the Personal or Scientific category. The information you provide will only be used to track the story entry. If accepted, your entry may be published here.


JUDGING CRITERIA ON PERSONAL STORIES: Your story will be judged by the MMS Writing Committee using the following criteria: 50% grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, and spelling. 50% originality, style, and theme relating to you and minerals, rocks, or fossils.


PRIZES: Winners of the two categories will be announced at the annual Greater Detroit Rock, Mineral, and Fossil Show in October 2023.

  • 1st Place Prize: $150

  • 2nd Place Prize: $75


DISCLAIMER and NOTICE ON USAGE: All contestants agree to allow the MMS to post their article and information on the MMS website, Instagram, and Facebook “in perpetuity.” In return, we will not reveal any names or publish any personal information. Articles, if sent in a usable format, will be posted to the MMS website ( under the ‘Field Trips and Activities’ tab on the ‘Personal Stories Contest’ page. Your story will be public facing, intending to generate interest in the club and its mission. Winning essays will be published after the awards are announced at our show in October. All entries are subject to publication on the MMS website and the club newsletter ‘The Conglomerate.’ You agree to this by submitting your entry.

Get to typing and send in your stories today!!

2023 May entries


 P. Graves-Wesolosky


            We were young(er). We were somewhat able-bodied. We knew it all! That is why Mike Trelfa and I decided to climb the Phoenix Mine tailings piles for that best piece of copper. The owner gave us permission, and gleefully we went about our merry way.  

            Oh what a beautiful day to cut steps into the side of a very slippery and steep tailings pile. Climb we did!! Slide backward-we did! The faint sounds of expletives as we often slid backward further than we climbed upward. At some points as we climbed our own Mt. Everest, we would stop for that Kodak moment. The one you make up so you can catch your breath as opposed to admitting the journey was probably a mistake.

             I was the first to reach the summit. “Hey Mike!! Get up here. I’m finding lots!” “Okay,” he replied. More faint sounds of expletives. More loose rock sliding downhill. 

            Eventually, both of us were on top of the world-in God’s Country-doing exactly what we loved to do. We sat and dug in silence as the sun warmed our souls. We breathed in the pine fragrance as the wind came off Lake Superior. We could see for miles and smiled at our triumph. Those smiles lasted until we fully realized that the way back down was steeper and more foreboding than the trek up. Neither one of us was ready to commit to rolling down the path we climbed up. 

            We searched for the easiest route downhill and amazingly not far behind us, on the top of the pile, we found the two-track that is used to drive up to the top of the pile. Not only that, you can drive down to the bottom of the pile on said two-track. 

            Really? Were we THAT stupid? I’d say on this one occasion…we were.

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