Past Hunts

Soft Drinks for Treasure

In my senior year of college I participated in and won my third major treasure hunt. A local soft drink company offered a prize of $10,000 cash if you could solve a series of 12 clues about when certain things happened in local history.

To get a clue you had to buy a case of soda. By now I knew that in order to win I would have to be very creative. So I figured I would use my student loan that I had just received to buy some soda. OK, a lot of soda! I ended up buying about $800 worth of soda and storing it in my Mom's storage room. I figured my mom would never know that I was on another quest because she rarely went into the storage room.

Was I ever wrong! The very night that I put five stacks of floor to ceiling cases of soda in the storage room, my mom went in there to get something. She opened the door and let out a shriek. The jig was up; I had to do some fast explaining to do. After I explained, she generously gave me a month to get rid of it.

Back to the clues - I opened all of the clues and there were a lot of doubles but after all of that I still only had 6 of the 12 clues. I went to all of the stores that sold the soda and all of them had the same clues that I had. I was not too happy about it. How could I win the contest if I only had half of the clues?

I thought I would contact the company and ask the person in charge of the contest if all of the clues were out. He assured me that all of the clues were out. I told him what my experience was and that it may be a good idea to check to make sure that all of the clues were out. He called me back a few days later and told me that there had been a mistake at the printers and that all of the clues would be out at the beginning of the following week.

I was out in force the next week and went back to all of the stores that I had visited over the previous two weeks and talked to the people who I felt I had built a relationship with after I had told them how much soda I had bought originally. I told them the story of the missing clues, and to my surprise, instead of making me buy more soda, they just gave me a hand full of clues, by the end of the night I had all of the 12 clues.

Then came the hard part, solving the clues. I was in university so I knew how to use a library, but I did not have the first idea on how to solve clues about history trivia. The Internet was not even around so I enlisted the help of an elderly lady in the local library. She was a brilliant help. When I told her that I was trying to win the treasure from this soft drink company, and that I wanted to start a non-profit society from the winnings, she became part of my team. I worked on the clues for days. Every spare minute that I had I spent on the clues. When I was done class I went to the library and the librarian would have more stacks of history books for me to look at.

It took about 2 months of research before I was able to find all of the answers to the clues. I submitted my answer and waited for the contest to close.

I knew that I had the right answer but I was worried when I had not heard anything from the company four days after the winner was supposed to be announced. So I called the company. They told me that the winner would have already been notified and that it was sent out special delivery. I called my mom the next day to see if there was any mail for me. There was a special delivery envelope in the mail and I asked her to read it. She opened it up and read it. As she read it out, I let a out a huge whoop! I had won the $10,000. After graduation I used the money to fund scholarships for high school students.