As Carson City officials huddled Tuesday against brisk winds and an occasional sprinkle, a groundskeeper used a Bobcat tractor to slowly remove a cement slab covering a time capsule.
Moving closer, all eyes focused on the welded steel box as it was wedged open with a hammer and chisel. The moment at hand, a 3-inch piece of fiberglass foam, signed "Dick Murray closed me, 5-16-90," was removed, revealing its contents.
With pomp and suspense worthy of the Geraldo Rivera show, the box was tipped over - spilling murky brown water from its innards.
The 93 entries within were unreadable, destroyed by water and mud that leaked into the time capsule buried next to the Legislative Plaza.
Fortunately, members of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce and the Mainstreet organization had the forethought to photocopy all the entries when the box was buried a decade ago.
The questions covered areas such as the price of a gallon of gas, the political party of the president, and the population of Carson City. No one successfully predicted everything, and the highest score - from Justice of the Peace Robey Willis - was 65 out of a possible 100.
"Some of the answers were guesstimates," admitted Willis.
"I like to pride myself on a good memory, but I'm not really cognizant of why I put these answers. I was trying to guess the best I could. Like the one with the bypass, though, that was obvious to me.
"This is a fun kind of thing to do. And there's a real good chance of the money going into my campaign fund. They say go with your first hunch and that's what mine is. I might have to take it (contest) more serious next time."
Larry Osborne, executive vice president of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce, said Willis will be paid $1,609.11 in cash for his winning entry. That's the amount of a certificate of deposit bought 10 years ago for $1,000.
"I thought this was quite fun and interesting to learn the winners were still here in Carson City," said Osborne.
"Our second-place winner was Steve and Mary Walker. There were eight people who scored 60 points for the runner-up prize, which was a surprise. It was the (2-ounce silver) medallion placed in the time capsule by Dick Murray.
"The Walkers were the closest to the bonus prize answer. Mary is the former redevelopment director. Matter of fact, she was Carson City's first director."
The prediction card and time capsule were a fund-raising event for the Mainstreet organization.
"The Mainstreet organization was established to raise awareness and promote renovation of downtown," said Shelly Aldean, president of the organization from 1990-93.
"It's good to see downtown is thriving and still contributing to Carson City," said Robin Williamson, a member of the board of supervisors and chairwoman of the redevelopment committee.