Joe Medallion's Treasure Hunting Tips -- 2014 edition

I supposed that with the hunt starting in under a week that its time, once again, to put together a list of treasure hunting tips. I've done this for the past couple of years now, and stopping just wouldn't be right. Compared to those two years, I'm a little late, but what the heck, right?

Buttons. Buy a button and get it registered. They've been available for over a month now, and have to be registered by January 17 at midnight in order to qualify you for the extra $5000 in cash if you find the puck. Who wants to throw away 5 grand? Not me. Don't count on your hunting buddies to have one, because once again there will be only one finder and one check. If your group's finder (probably the person with the lowest tax bracket) doesn't have a registered button, you're out 5 grand. No questions asked. I know I sound like a broken record, including this tip every year, but its sad to see the number of winners who just didn't do it and missed out on a bigger prize. The hunt that inspired the "only one finder rule" in 2012 was the most recent encounter. Already have a button? Well, if you're reading this, you've got an internet connection so go find the card and follow the web site link. There are no excuses.

Site update

Every year, I try to make at least one improvement behind the scenes to the Cooler Crew site. Over this past year, we've added in as many of the small-town treasure hunts as we could get our hands on into the site. This has involved a lot of googling and other tracking down of articles from smaller newspapers, contact with the folks who run the various hunts, etc. As of right now, we have 633 distinct pieces of content on the site, dating back to some of the original writings of Greg Sax back in 1999, and including all of the hunts we know of that took place in 2013. I hope to keep that particular tradition up. I'm also in the process of trying to make the url names of each of the individual pages more consistent, something along the lines of content_type/source/year/name. 

On the back end of things, I'm tweaking the code that powers the treasure hunt section of the site. One of the more prominent things you'll notice is the addition of a Google Map to the hunt information section of the treasure hunt pages where we have GPS coordinates for the location of that particular treasure hunt. On that same note, I'm working to change the way the summary maps work on the site. As of right now, the summary map pages, e.g., the Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt map are relatively static. Yes, they update based on hunts being added, but the underlying database structure isn't very conducive to maintenance, and all of the boundary data for cities, and hunt location data are sent to you, regardless of whether they're visible in the map you're looking at or not. I'm working to change that.

16th Annual Cooler Crew Pre-Dig Gig

The 2014 Cooler Crew button

16th Annual Cooler Crew Pre-Dig Gig
Saturday January 18, 2014
Joseph's Grill (in the banquet room)
140 South Wabasha Street
Saint Paul, MN 55107

The 16th annual Cooler Crew Pre-Dig Gig will be once again held at Joseph's Grill, in the banquet room, on Wabasha. It's hard to believe that another cooler year has come and gone already. If "tradition" holds, we'll already have clue 1 from the early editions of the paper, long before its official release. Plus things should be made more interesting this year with Ma Press's announcement that it will be transitioning production of the paper to a contract with the Star Tribune's printing presses.

17th Annual Rehash Bash

17th Annual Rehash Bash
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Newell Park - Pavilion

The 2014 Rehash Bash will be held in the Pavillion building at Newell Park once again. Show up, bring a dish to share. There are already plans for lots of treats themed around this year's hunt, so show up hungry!

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2013 Diggorius Rex Treasure Hunt Kick Off

The Original Gabe's By The Park
Saturday October 19, 2013
5:30 start, 6:00pm clue release
991 Lexington Pkwy N
St Paul, MN 55108

Announcing a new 12 clue hunt brought to you by Diggorius Rex and David Ng

An October Hunt starting next Saturday October 19th.
Bonus - The Finder will get to keep the medallion!
Similar to previous mock hunts, there are two ways to play.

The All Star Break, as It Were

We've reached the halfway point of the summer hunting season. The Cooler Crew has picked up a pair of medallions. Coldest Hunter snagged Roseville, and Matt Koskie grabbed Cottage Grove. Way to go guys! Nine hunts are down, and not all of them without controversy. Columbia Heights had the brick-breaking problem to ultimately get to the medallion in Judge Wargo Court. The Blaine hunt lasted only a single clue which was taken down fromt he web site before any of us knew what it was. C'est la vie though, right?

The good news is that there are still a lot more hunts out there for us to get. So crew, lets get out there and find them!

2013 Summer Hunting Season Kicks Off Today

With the release of the first three clues for the 2013 Hugo Good Neighbor Days Search For Spike, the 2013 hunting season is officially under way. Having found six of the summer festival medallions last year, and being more organized and determined this year, we are in a position to capture even more festival treasure this summer. At this time, we know of 14 cities having treasure hunts this summer with prizes ranging from $100 to $1500 depending on the hunt. To help keep tabs on the hunts, we've added a block to the right hand side of this page called "Today's Events" which shows whatever events are in our site calendar that are going on today.

Let's go Cooler Crew and capture some treasure!

2013 Allison Wonderland Mock Hunt Kickoff Party

The Original Gabe's By The Park
Saturday March 2, 2013
5:30 start, 6:00pm clue release
991 Lexington Pkwy N
St Paul, MN 55108

More from the white rabbit:


Cooler Crew -- A History

During the 1990's, the St Paul Pioneer Press opened online discussion forums. These forums were called Water Coolers. The forums had discussion topics related to sports, politics, news, and current events. Each year, the Pioneer Planet — the online section of the Pioneer Press — opened a discussion forum as a media for hunters to discuss the clues for the Winter Carnival Medallion Hunt.

During the earlier years, one might find a few hundred posts during the hunt. As more hunters had computers, those numbers jumped. From 1997 to 1998, the number of posts increased from the hundreds to the 5-digit thousands. It was during the 1998 hunt the Cooler Crew was born.

The community spirit and teamwork displayed in the Pioneer Press Medallion Hunt thread was inspiring. The group of hunters found themselves at the end of a hunt not wanting to let go of new friendships and the camaraderie found on the Water Cooler board. The idea emerged to do what anyone would do in the middle of winter in Minnesota. A picnic in Cherokee was planned - the first Rehash Bash!

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