A New Era

A new decade is upon us. Having celebrated our own ten year anniversary, we now begin the seventh calendar decade of the medallion hunt. We opened off the decade with Jake Ingebrigtson and Rob Brass teaming up again to find the medallion in 2010, a mere three years after their find in 2007. Ma Press stumped us with videos along with each of the clues depicting an "avatar", who started out as "James Goodhue IV" reading the clues in an obscure voice. It seemed to go over well, as Mr. Goodhue returned for the 2011 hunt. Goodhue was "away" for the 2012 hunt, but his "cousin", Ferguson provided the comic relief kicking off the hunt and we got music videos of the clues. On top of that, 2012 gave us our first taste of "scrambled" clues. One hour before the official release time, we were given scrambled clues online. In some cases, the words within a particular line were rearranged. In others, the entire clue was rearranaged. If you could unscramble the cluies within that hour, you had a slight advantage on hunters who couldn't.

2012 also delivered us the 60th anniversary of the hunt, which was monumental not only for the anniversary, but also because the hunt returned to the suburbs for the first time in nearly a quarter century, a move that some never expected. Interestingly enough, the Press chose to reprise the role of the last suburban park that held the medallion, Tony Schmidt out in Arden Hills, a place vastly changed from the almond bark and metal coin days of 1988. (OK, yes, Ma Press used Roseville's Central Park in 2007 after Jake's record-breaking find, but that was arguably not part of their original plan, and yes, in 2004 the puck was technically in Maplewood, but Phalen is a Saint Paul park). Is this because St. Paul's parks have become too well-known to hunters, who now have park information literally at their fingertips wherever they may be on our phones and tablets? Is it because groups like the Cooler Crew tend to confine their summertime mock hunts to St. Paul? Or is it just a way to keep hunters on their feet and remind them that hey, this isn't just a St. Paul hunt? Who knows?

Really though, it doesn't matter. Should we find ourselves having to trudge through suburban parks that we don't know about, time will sort that problem out for us. Already this decade, the hall of fame in the Cooler Crew alone has expanded dramatically, with the massive influx of suburban festivals that are developing hunts (or that have had them for a long time and we're just uncovering them). The summer of 2012 alone found the Cooler Crew claiming Hugo, White Bear Lake, Little Canada, New Brighton, Woodbury, and Cottage Grove medallions, and vigorously searched for more: Vadnais Heights, Rosemount, Hastings, Roseville, and Columbia Heights. And while we didn't do that well in 2013, Steve Sanftner and Matt Koskie cleaned house with some 9 finds during the summer of 2014. Some entrepreneuring soul will go out there and document those parks for future hunters just as what has been done for St. Paul's parks, giving Ma Press one more reference to avoid using.

Technology is going to continue its ever present advance. It should be fun to watch and participate. And always remember: Search, Don't Destroy!

YearGeneral LocationPinpointed LocationConcealer
2010Lilydale ParkTucked in a footprint in the snow near an uprooted tree, across the river from grain silos and a circular piling in the river.Plastic bag, with a depiction of the Pioneer Press's two Pulitzer Prizes.
2011Battle Creek ParkNear the remnants of the former ski jump siteClear Newspaper Wrapping
2012Tony Schmidt ParkNear a stand of pine trees just off the Elmer Andersen Trail underneath the overhead power linesA diamond brand nut bag wrapped up in a blue hair binder
2013Cherokee ParkNear Annapolis Street, by a tree that had grown into a chain link fence.Ice
2014Como ParkTo the aft of the USS Swordfish memorial, near Lexington and EstabrookInside a pocket from a pair of jeans.
2015Snail Lake ParkA block of ice