Nevada Day Treasure Hunt: On your mark, get set ... hunt

CourtesyThis medallion will be hidden during the Nevada Day Treasure Hunt, which begins on Monday.

CourtesyThis medallion will be hidden during the Nevada Day Treasure Hunt, which begins on Monday.

Mixing Nevada history with a good dose of mystery, the 11th annual Nevada Day Treasure Hunt begins Monday. Laurie Olson, who organizes the hunt with her family, said the event’s popularity keeps their enthusiasm strong.“We are spurred on by the interest of the community,” Olson said. “If we didn’t have this kind of community interest, we might lose interest. We also have a lot of fun as a family doing it.”Starting Monday, the Nevada Appeal and will publish a daily clue to the whereabouts of this year’s treasure. It could be anywhere in Carson City or the counties of Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Storey, Mineral or Washoe. Because the Appeal does not publish on Mondays, that day’s clue will be available only online.The first person to find the treasure, a small acrylic square containing a Nevada Day Treasure Hunt medallion, will get a $500 prize. An additional $500 will be rewarded If the winner is registered at The prize is forfeited If the hidden treasure is not found within 15 days.The Olsons were avid participants in a similar hunt in Oregon that ran during the annual Rose Festival. When they moved to Nevada 15 years ago, Laurie’s son Jesse suggested they start one of their own in the Silver State. And a family tradition was born. Olson said the event requires work year-round. “We do a lot of research. We read a lot of books and physically go places and look around.”When it comes time to write the clues, she said the family — Laurie, her husband, Pete, and their grown children Jennifer Walker and Jesse — sits down around the kitchen table and look them over. Some clues are used. Some are rewritten. Some are thrown out. “We want to make sure the clues are hard but not indecipherable,” she said. “It can be stressful.”The clues draw upon the state’s history, geography and other tidbits.“We’ve learned a lot about Nevada because of it,” Olson said. “We hope people who do the hunt will also learn a lot about Nevada.”Olson’s 87-year-old mother, Joy Samsel, runs a nonprofit organization, Where in Nevada, that raises money for the hunt. “Raising the funds is more of a challenge than the whole hunt part,” Olson said. The medallion is inside a leather pouch and hidden on public property. It will not be buried, and searchers won’t have to climb or do anything physical except walk up to retrieve it. Searchers will not have to make any purchases to find it.Olson, urging participants to avoid trespassing or any other violations, said, “Use good etiquette and common sense.”Prospective treasure hunters should go to to register on opening day, read the frequently asked questions and past clues, which contain explanations for each.The person who finds the treasure should bring it to the Nevada Appeal, 580 Mallory Way, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Players must be 18 to participate.Olson said participating in the event is a rewarding experience, regardless of outcome. “People will enjoy learning about the state they live in,” she said. “It’s the thrill of the hunt.”On the WebTo see the clues, go to To register for the hunt and read the official rules, go to


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