Why the Puck Won't Be Found at the Fairgrounds

"Read the daily clues to search for the Pioneer Press medallion hidden on public land in Ramsey County." Its been apart of the treasure hunt rules in one way shape or form for as long as old Joe Medallion can remember. Granted old Joe has only been paying attention to the hunt since about 1990 or so, and has really been active in it since Conway in 1999. But in all those years, the puck has been on public land in Ramsey County. In 1979, in fact, the medallion made its one and only venture out of the county, placed in Marthaler Park in West Saint Paul. Joe can only assume that Ramsey County was not a part of the rules in those days, since the throngs of irate hunters descending on the Pioneer Press building would have made the Vulcan's overthrow of Boreas look like a flick of a Bic. Sure, every year some clown posits that its in Powerhorn or Theo Wirth Parks. We can only assume that these posts are in jest, with those two being in Minneapolis, a distinctly un-Ramsey County location.

Then there's the Fairgrounds. In recent years they've been off limits, at least in name, but that wasn't always the case, with Ma Press even hiding the puck there in both 1953 for the second hunt of the year and again in 1967. Trying to dig there today though will get you a stern talking to by the State Fair Police, followed by an escort off the grounds. But yet they're the "State" Fairgrounds. Aren't they public land in Ramsey County? According to legend the grounds are currently private property. This discussion came up this evening in the Cooler Crew Discussion Boards, and prompted ol' Joe to do some digging around.

Now Unveiling the 2011 Annual Cooler Crew Button

Thanks to *MOM* and Terry for putting together this year's commemorative button. It will be available at the Pre-Dig at Yarusso's, and from Coolerheads during the hunt.

2011 Cooler Crew button

The Treasure Hunt is Right Around the Corner

As the holidays arrive and 2010 comes to a close, some of us are reminded that the 2011 Treasure Hunt is just around the corner. Planning for the 2011 Pre-Dig Gig is already in the works. Stay tuned here for information about that and other Cooler Crew gatherings during and after the hunt. Rumor has it that the pre-dig is going to become an official Winter Carnival event this year.

In addition to joining us on our discussion boards, you may also want to join us on our Facebook group.

Also, you may have noticed that the non-holiday logo has been changed:

New Logo

Thanks go to to Big G for designing it a few years back. We think its a more modern look on a classic theme, and hope you do too.

Have a Successful St Paul Winter Carnival Medallion Hunt


Back in 1885, a New York reporter noted that St Paul was “another Siberia, unfit for human habitation”. This gave birth to the novel idea for a celebration of our wintry clime. Families and communities came together to participate in the St Paul Winter Carnival; a tradition that continues today, over 120 years later as the coolest celebration on earth.

The Winter Carnival Medallion Hunt began in 1952, where “hidden in Boreas' rollicking realm, lay his treasure.” A small treasure chest made of wood, with the instructions on how to claim the prize inside. Arthur M. Jensen found this treasure in Highland Park on the 11th clue, which told of two tree stumps to the west. With his big $1000 win, his wife splurged and bought herself a new hat!

There are a few things that you can do to ensure that you have a successful medallion hunt as well. Maybe you won't win the prize, but you can share in the magic of family and tradition that the St Paul Winter Carnival brings to us each year.

The Fun Part

“It is time again, to pick up a pen
and delve into the clues mysteries.
Grab yourself a chair, but you must beware
the clues are full of trickeries.

The time is near for you, my dear
to bundle up and bring your luck
the hunt has begun, now have some fun
and bring home the cherished puck!”

The clues are mesmerizing as clever little poems. Take the above “clue” as an example. At first glance, it is telling you that the clues are tricky and that the hunt has begun. But that's no fun, the cluewriter needs to make sure that only those who put forth a little effort can find this. What fun would it be if you were just given directions, and had to foot race 2,000 people to the location?

How to Find the Saint Paul Winter Carnival Medallion

Wintery conditions work against you, and for you in your search
Wintery conditions work against you, and for you in your search

The time has come where Vulcanus Rex attempts to unseat King Boreas from his wintry throne and bring the promise of spring once again. It is also the time of the year where the web-weaving muse hides the ultimate winter treasure somewhere in Ramsey County. Want to increase your odds at finding it?

Difficulty: Challenging

Things You'll Need:

  • The proper maps
  • Warm clothing
  • "Digging" tools
  • Clues
  • Portable light
  • Sustenance
  • Truckload of luck
  • Step 1

    Prepare yourself before the Winter Carnival

    Read up on past clues and get a feel for what you are up against. Get a feel for how the Cluewriter hides not only the medallion, but the clues within the clues.

    Prepare in other local treasure hunts. Many suburban cities host treasure hunts in the off season. These are a great way to hone your skills as a true "puckhead".

2010 Pre-Dig Gig Recap

The Cooler Crew at the pre-dig gig in the basement of Obb's.

January 16, 2010 -- Obb's Bar, St. Paul, MN

Tonight marked the 12th annual Cooler Crew Pre-Dig Gig. Over the course of the evening, we figure some 125 people or more came through the room. There were lots of old faces, and plenty of new ones joining in the fun!

As in the past several years, Clue Master ran the park pick pool. This year the pool was a little different. Everyone involved selected the order that they would be picking, but rather than have a single board, Cluey put together a pair of picks. One entry got you one pick on one of the boards. There was a lot of interest outside St. Paul proper this year.

Mom and Dad had the annual Cooler Crew button, which can be seen in the Pre-Dig gig announcement. Having a Cooler Crew button gets you 1/2 off appetizers and $1 off bar drinks at Yarusso's during the hunt. If you don't have one, find Ares at the PP, Yarusso's or contact him on Ableminds (or this site, or Facebook) to get one.

Lil'Man hooked us up with all the music we could stand, all night long, from the DJ booth, while lilslim brought in the karaoke laptop and enabled folks to hook us up with all the music we couldn't stand scattered throughout the evening. Not surprisingly, the karaoke booth grew more popular as the night progressed, as people "worked up the courage" to sing. Wicked Nick and Cereal Killer provided us with a rendition of Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler", and we were treated to a wonderful performance of the now viral "Pants on the Ground" from American Idol.

Cooler Crew Drink and Appetizer Specials at Yarusso's

During the hunt, get together at Yarusso Bros. Italian Restaurant on Payne Avenue. Your Cooler Crew button gets you $1 off bar drinks and half-price appetizers!

The Cooler Crew Would Like To Thank....

The Cooler Crew would like to thank the following great local businesses for their generous donations for Mark's funeral:

Yarusso's Italian Restaurant
635 Payne Avenye (Across from Swede Hollow)
for catering the food
  Lakeside Floral, Inc. for providing husband and father bouquets
Koehler & Dramm's Institute of Floristry for making a class project out of funeral arrangements and donating the results for the funeral

We'd also like to thank Obb's Bar for the location of the Pre-Dig Gig this year, and the setup they put together, as well as their generous donation to Mark's Memorial Fund. In addition we'd like to thank the many people who have individually contributed to the fund.

When you're out and about during this year's hunt and afterwards, please patronize these businesses as you are able to in gratitude for their contributions.


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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