Jeanette Keller had a little extra incentive to find the golden egg in this year's Bismarck Tribune Easter Egg Hunt, sponsored by Bismarck Heating and Air.
Last year's winner "found it right in front of me," the Bismarck resident said. "I was determined to find it this year. How close can you get?"
Keller, a Tribune subscriber, is this year's winner of $1,000 in the annual contest, which involved daily clues pointing to the large plastic golden egg cleverly placed at the Fort Lincoln Trolley ticket building in Mandan. The egg was inside a rotted railroad tie about 6 feet off the walking path.
Daily clues began running in last Friday's paper and Tribune website. Had a nonsubscriber found the egg, he or she would have won $500.
Tribune Publisher Gary Adkisson said the egg was hidden in a publicly accessible area and not a confined space so that people could maintain social distancing during the cornonavirus outbreak.
Keller and her husband, John, had plenty of help deciphering the clues. Their four grown children, a few grandchildren and John's mother all helped.
"We would group message every day," Keller said. "It was a group effort. Grandma (John's mother Mabel Keller) sent us the clue early this morning to make sure we got it.
"But I did most of the legwork. I'm just saying," Keller joked.
During the search, Keller kept going back to the third clue, "Trails and golf were key in 2019's search, a four mile ride will lead to 2020's search."
"We started at the Mandan Memorial Ballpark, but I kept telling my husband the trolley kept making sense," Keller said.
The trolley ride from Mandan to Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park is 4 miles.
So the Kellers went back to the trolley location on Third Street Southeast for a harder inspection.
"It was very well hidden," Keller said. "We were pretty darned excited. This is awesome -- I never win anything. I'm always a day late and a dollar short."
After looking closer at the east side of the ticket building, she and her husband saw a green string protruding from a cavity in an old railroad tie. With a gentle pull of the string, out came the golden Easter egg.
The previous clues read:
- Steinbeck wrote about the west, locating the egg will be a great test.
- By river, road and rail, settlers came here, to find the egg, cross all to get near.
- Trails and golf were key in 2019's search, a four mile ride will lead to 2020's search.
- Mandan Indians settled on nearby sites, but the golden egg is afraid of heights.
Keller said she and her husband plan to share the winnings with their four children and take John's mother out to dinner.
"It was a great distraction" from the coronavirus outbreak, she said.
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