Alaska Goldpanners associate general manager Todd Dennis gave an overview of the organization, which was formed in 1959.

The organization grew out of Fairbanks' midnight sun baseball game, which has been played on the summer solstice since 1906. The initial game grew out of a bar bet between the California Bar and the Eagles Club: who had the better team. After much of the community was devastated in a fire that year, the solstice game became a celebration of community spirit that the town rallied around.

Since the Goldpanners organization was formed in 1959, the team has sent more than 197 players on to play with major league baseball teams (Barry Bonds was a 1983 Goldpanner) and several have gone on to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Today, the team is made up of collegiate players from schools in the Western states. They compete against teams in Alaska as well as Canada and the Lower 48. In 76 years, the team has won 76 national tournaments and has played in almost half the championship games. For players, the team helps serve as a transition between amateur/collegiate leagues and the professional teams. Because of its reputation nationally, the team is closely watched by scouts for the major leagues.

The solstice game has never been played with artificial lighting, though some years they've had to intercept people who accidentally try to turn on the lights. This year, the Goldpanners will play the "Heroes of the Diamond", a team comprised of members of all branches of the US armed forces.

Questions and comments from club members took almost as much time as the formal presentation. Ron Inouye noted the book "Diamonds in the Rough" (published by Epicenter Press) as a great source of facts, figures and anecdotes about baseball in Alaska. Patty Meritt recommended the 18-hour Ken Burns series on baseball, which features the Goldpanners, as a look at American history through the lens of baseball. Paul Buccigross asked about the team's business model. Alaska Goldpanners is a not-for-profit. They generate part of their revenue through bingo/gaming. By far, their largest expense is travel. It costs approximately $60,000 a year to get the 27-member team to and from their away games and the national tournament.