Closing out 15 years: the 2013 Rehash Recap

What a way to close out a milestone year for the Cooler Crew! Coincidence or not, after a slew of red herrings from the clue writer, we ended up digging back in the birthplace of the Crew -- well, the in-person birthplace of the Crew anyway -- Cherokee Heights Park. Of course things have changed since those early days. After two weeks out in the frozen tundra, we've decided to wimp out for the rehash, and nowdays have it indoors, typically in the shelter at Newell Park, and this year was no different.

Just as with the Predig, we met a lot of new friends, and welcomed back some old ones. After a years-long hiatus, KT returned and assumed co-MC responsibilities with Redbear. Those two just make a great comedic team when it comes to justifying which door prizes go to which winner. This year's door prizes were rounded out with plenty of PP swag, rightfully "acquired"  from the press conference and winner's party at Gabe's (and from the Vulcan Victory Dance the night before), along with the requisite clue-related prizes: a copy of Joel Barker's Paradigm book, plenty of Vinyl from the band "Head East" and Bing Crosby, and DVDs of the "movie" Mashed Rice, er, Archimedes, and crazy food items like Yellow Mashed Rice, Morton Salt, and Little Debbie Honey Buns.

Recap of the 2013 Predig Gig

The 2013 Predig Gig was arguably one of the best we've had to date. With over 60 people in the group shot here, we probably had somewhere around 150 people come through the doors over the course of the evening. We had the entire banquet room at Joseph's Grill on Wabasha, plus as the room cleared out, we had a huge portion of the dining room. As always we welcomed back old friends and welcomed in new friends!

Joseph's provided their $15.00 pasta bar: all you can eat pasta, cooked up to order with whatever veggies, meat, pasta, and sauce you wanted. Great food for a great deal! The plate is sure a lot bigger than it looks when you're making your selections for sure. After people ate in the banquet room, the tables were rolled up and the lights dimmed as the room became a dance floor. For people preferring conversation, the dining room was available and coolerheads mingled back and forth between the two.

Mom provided the annual Cooler Crew button, while Lil'man's son provided the DJ services for the evening. Clue Master organized the two park pick pool boards, each worth $125. Thanks go to Allison Wonderland for organizing the whole event! Everyone is looking forward to reprising the location next year!

Follow the hunt on our 2013 treasure hunt page.

Joe Medallion's Treasure Hunting Tips - 2013 Edition

In a matter of days, we'll all be once again scouring parks at 3am in search of the ever-elusive medallion. Only a handful of groups, somewhere around 60, have the honor of laying claim to the title of "Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt Finder". However, for the 2013 hunt, that's all about to change. No longer will the honor go to a group of hunters; the official rules state that there will be one and only one winner. In order to collect the full prize, the single finder must have his or her own registered button. If you find it and don't have a button, you've either got to forego the full prize, or put an awful lot of faith in someone who does.

This leads us to the first tip for the 2013 hunt. Buy a button. Register it in your name by the appropriate deadline. If you expect to be hunting with your kids, it won't hurt to have one registered in their names too, just in case. Even though the rules for minors have been in place for years, its a little unclear as to how it will be handled if the puck is found by someone under eighteen.

Does this rule change mean you should go solo this year? Absolutely not! Out of the thousands of people who search for the medallion, only one will find it. The odds of being that one are stil pretty slim. I've said it before the greatest treasure mostof us will ever find is the camaraderie and the friendships that are created through this crazy hobby.

New rules for 2013???

With the annual arrival of the Winter Carnival buttons, we get our first glimpse of the rules for the Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt. Last year, we got a new twist on the clues. One hour prior to the official release time online, the clues were released in a scrambled form. Not that we really needed the unscrambled clue, given our penchant to attach meaning to every single word in every single clue, regardless of how meaningless it may be. This year, in what we can only presume is a response to last year's controversy, where a group of hunters teamed up after someone found the medallion, because the finder didn't have a registered button, and that group was later stripped of their titles, there's an interesting twist on the rules this year. As opposed to past years, where multiple winners (in the event of a group find) are recognized by the Pioneer Press, the Pioneer Press will recognize only one finder, and that one finder must have a properly registered Winter Carnival button. So, fellow Coolerheads, your buttons, whether you like it are not, are no longer for sale. If you want your share of the $5000 bonus for having a registered button, you better be on the lookout for our beloved piece of transparent lucite, because you won't get the 5 grand without it :).

While there's been some criticism of the rule on the Treasure Hunt Facebook Page, mostly about the implementation of the rule, and how tax consequences will be handled (since the burden will be on a sole finder, instead of distributed across the group), the reaction has been generally positive, just because it avoids the sort of ad hoc group forming solely for the purpose of enhancing the prize. What do you think?

Cooler Crew Picture Tag

Thanks to Diggorious Rex, we have a new game in town: the Cooler Crew Picture Tag.

The gist of the game is that someone posts a picture of a somewhat-well-known, but identifiable location, with something that identifies that they were there (usually something like their car). Occasionally the poster will give clues as to where the picture was taken. The goal of everyone else is to find the spot, take the same picture (with your own car), and post it. The first one who claims the spot, has 24 hours to post the next picture to find.

Join us on the Facebook group for playing tag.

Do these guys ever quit?

Not likely, but the Crew is now up to 5 finds in 2012. In addition to Barefootguy and Diggorius Rex's Hugo find, and Cluey and me2's White Bear Lake and Cottage Grove finds, Cluey and me2 are also the happy finders of the Little Canada and New Brighton medallions as well. Total winnings for the group: something on the order of $2125. Not bad, crew. Not bad.

Cooler Crew has 3 finds in 2012

The Cooler Crew has found the treasure medallions in 3 of thes festival hunts in 2012. Barefootguy and Diggorious Rex found the Hugo Good Neighbor Days Spike on June 10 near Clearwater Creek, while Me2 (and she insists Clue Master, but everyone else knows otherwise, something about keeping score on total finds) found the Cottage Grove Strawberry Fest Medallion in Hamlet Park on June 16. Cluey followed that up 5 days later on the 21st by snatching up the White Bear Lake Manitou Days medallion just north of the historic depot.

Come on Crew, let's keep up the good work and pick up a majority of these suckers this summer!

2012 Pioneer Press Medallion found in Tony Schmidt Park

At approximately 2am, Lange Wallgren, of Osseo, found the 2012 Pioneer Press medallion in Tony Schmidt Park in Arden Hills. Lange will split the prize money with four other co-finders, Nate Buck of Cottage Grove and Corey Hargreaves of New Brighton,as well as Coolerheads Alex Valen of North Oaks and past finder Jake Ingebrigtson of St. Paul. The five had a gentlemen's agreement set up before the find to split the prize if they found it. It took the group 11 clues and hours of digging in Tony Schmidt to find the medallion and bring home $10,000.

Details of the hunt can be found here.

As always a rehash bash is in the works. Come back to the front page of when they're available.


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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