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RIP Santa Dave

Santa Dave at the first annual Cooler Crew predig.

Santa Dave at the first annual Cooler Crew predig.

"Santa" Dave Young passed away last night in the presence of many of his Cooler Crew Friends.

Being as sleep is alluding me, I thought I could share some information and memories of our friend Dave Young over the past 10 years.

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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 1998 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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Eighth Annual Rehash Bash

One hundred folks, give or take a few, gathered at Crosby Lake Park for the eighth annual Rehash Bash to put another Winter Carnival Medallion Hunt to rest. There were the familiar faces and some new to the Cooler Crew as well.

This year’s finders were kind enough to show people where the prized medallion was found. Seems everyone was within feet of it at one time or another during the hunt. Does this mean the Crew is getting closer? Maybe next year, the Cooler Crew will prevail.

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2005 Pre-Dig Gig Recap

Cooler Crew at the 2005 Pre-Dig Gig
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2004 Rehash Bash Re-Cap

February 8th, 2004

Phalen Park

This years picnic in the park where the medallion was found, again saw the gathering of friends both new and old. On this cloudy, blustery day with the sound of the races out on the lake behind us, there were approximately 50 folks that attended. Name tags were a super idea! Thanks to those that made sure we were appropriately tagged!

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2004 Pre-Dig Gig

The 6th Annual Pre-Dig Gig at Patrick McGovern’s on Saturday, January 24, 2004 saw the gathering of old hunting friends sprinkled liberally with first time attendees. Roughly 100 folks came and went during the evening. As always, the stories of previous hunts, predictions of where the medallion will be found sometime in the next 12 days, the greeting of old and new friends alike made this annual gathering one this writer wouldn’t miss. The evening, as always, was capped off with the reading of the first clue.

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Predig Gig 2003 at McGovern's

Patrick McGovern's - January 18th, 2003

The Cooler Crew has gathered at Patrick McGovern's to celebrate the beginning of the new Winter Carnival Medallion Hunt for each of the last five years. The celebration is always filled with the gathering of seasoned and newbie hunters, many laughs, reminisces of previous hunts, predictions of where the medallion might be hidden, who will find it, when the prized medallion will be found, and as the evening comes to an end, the reading of the first clue.

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Rehash Bash 2002 at Merriam Park

Merriam Park

January 27th, 2002

Could there possibly be a better way to mourn the end of another hunt than rehashing the whole thing with others equally let down from a hunt—and a hunt that seemed way too short? I think not!

At least one hundred mourners gathered this afternoon at Merriam Park to share a fabulous potluck with other hunters of the St. Paul Winter Carnival Medallion Hunt. The meal included Rehash Goulash, Minnesota Wild Rice Casserole, Devil's Den Eggs, Medallion Candy, Ian's Sloppy Joe Medallions, and lots of chips—especially of the Pringle variety.


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