A Decade of Change

The turn of the century and millennium marked some quite notable changes in the medallion hunt. After hiding the medallion in Como Park in 1997, the Pioneer Press chose to hide it there again after only four years in 2001, and again in 2003, to the shock of many a hunter. Due to the lack of snow and poor location, the 2002 hunt at Merriam park didn't even last into the first weekend. The 2003 and 2004 Hunts required all 12 clues, creating mosh pits, of sorts, as well as some incredible photo opportunities, as hunters by the hundreds converged on the coveted prize after the twelfth clue. 2004 also had the distinction of returning the medallion to the suburbs for the first time since 1988, by placing the medallion just north of the St. Paul/Maplewood boundary in the north end of Phalen Park (Maplewood had nothing to complain about, as all of Phalen is St. Paul park-space). In 2005, we saw the beginning (and for the moment, the end) of a new trend. Added into the regular mix of mock and suburban hunts, the Pioneer Press and Minnesota Wild teamed up to sponsor a summer "capture the flag" hunt, later admitted to be targeted directly at the Cooler Crew and other ultra hard core treasure hunters. The puck for this hunt was hidden in Indian Mounds Park, long considered by many hunters to be off limits due to the burial mounds. In doing so, hunters passed a test of sorts, and the Press set the stage for the Winter Carnival medallion to be placed there two and a half years later, in 2008. The decade also brought us to previously unused parks: Crosby Farm, Merriam Park, and Swede Hollow Park. In addition, Roseville's Central Park gained notoriety in 2007, hosting the second Medallion Hunt of the season, after Jake Ingebrigtson and Rob Brass found the first medallion in a record-setting three clues in three days in Hidden Falls Park.

It was also during this decade that the Cooler Crew had to find a new home, so to speak. After the 2002 hunt, we ended up on our own, as the Pioneer Press changed its bulletin board format to the same software used by the other Knight-Ridder properties. The Cooler Crew moved its chat site over to The Peoples Forum, and later to the forums at ableminds.com as PF faced financial hardship. Concurrent with the bulletin board change at Ma Press, this site got lost in the shuffle, until the current webmasters procured rights to the domain name, and managed to get all the content together. Other groups sprang up in the Press's board change, such as the Puck Posse during the 2003 Como hunt. They've joined us here, resulting in at least one marriage between the two groups.

As a group, we've been through a lot over the last 10 years. While in early years, we attempted to estimate the number of attendees at Pre-dig Gigs and Rehash Bashes, recent years' attendance has grown to be virtually uncountable, and the number of people posting on the forums has similarly grown. We've formed close bonds within ourselves, celebrating marriages, commiserating over divorces, sharing the sorrow of losing family members to the great Medallion Hunt in the Sky: spouses, parents, and even fellow treasure hunters. Santa Dave, RV "It wasn't a Winnebago" Bill, Kirk Condie, and all the Cooler Crew family members, may you all rest in peace.

In the spirit of "The Hunt", we've entertained ourselves in the off-season, through the so-called "mock hunts", complete with prizes, that various frequenters of this site have put together, the most famous of these being Allison Wonderland's mock hunt which takes place roughly a month and a half after the Pioneer Press hunt. As of late, many municipalities have put together treasure hunts as part of their summer or winter festivals; we've even had a few of these found by Coolerheads.

As in the past, technology has played an important role for treasure hunters. The metal detectors of days gone by have been replaced with internet-ready cellular phones and PDA's, cheap conference calls, and inexpensive laptop computers with open wireless access points providing free access to the internet. Treasure hunters now days have instant, electronic access to all of their treasure hunting resources, with literally a flip of the wrist. In response to these newfound tools, the hunts have become increasingly difficult, with methods devised by the clue writers to combat them. Previously, clues would gradually narrow down the hiding spot from the space of Ramsey County, to the part of town, to the park, to a specific area in the park, culminating with the final clue pinpointing the medallion. The recent trend has been to point out several landmarks visible from the hiding spot, or the park, over the first several clues, leading up to the mad rush on the final clue. In fact, the final clues in 2003 and 2004 were three and five stanzas respectively, in a fairly successful effort to foil would-be finders who too eagerly ran to the "X", without hearing the entire clue from their partner at the paper.

YearGeneral LocationPinpointed LocationConcealer
2000Newell ParkBetween the bench swing and baseball diamondInside a box of Ace brand playing cards
2001Como ParkDownhill from the park's West Picnic Grounds.Inside an "Iron Man" sock, stuffed into a "Dove" soap box
2002Merriam ParkOn the ground in the middle of a baseball diamondStuck to a tortilla chip can liner
2003Como ParkIn a wooded area north of the old fireplaceFrozen in ice
2004Phalen ParkIn a wooded area, in the area between Phalen and Round Lakes, not unlike the 2003 locationLoose in the snow in a green-iced donut
2005Crosby Farm ParkUnder a fallen tree branchAttached to the bark of a tree
2005Indian Mounds ParkUnder a tree in the Eastern end of the park
2006Battle Creek ParkAmidst some tall grass near a stand of pine trees on the sledding hill behind the recreation centerInside a Nut Goodie Wrapper, wrapped in a red and black garter and frozen in ice
2007Hidden Falls ParkAlong a line straight South of Cleveland AvenueEncased in ice, with the UAW Local 879 and Ford Logos under some logs
2007Central Park - RosevilleNear the base of a tree, close to a footbridge to the playgroundNothing
2008Indian Mounds ParkUnderneath a fallen tree Plastic-covered packaging from 3M Highland brand invisible tape
2009Swede Hollow ParkNear a tree at the end of the spring whose water crosses the eastern walking path.The Pioneer Press Hunt logo with red lipstick on the bulldog was affixed to the medallion