Annual Nevada Day treasure hunt begins Monday

Laurie Olson and her son Jesse Olson.

Laurie Olson and her son Jesse Olson.

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Jesse Olson has devised a way to get thousands of Nevadans interested in history.

For seven years, Olson has been the "treasure master" of the Nevada Day Treasure Hunt. What that really means is that he and a group of friends hide a 3-inch-by-3-inch acrylic medallion in a secret location every year and give out daily clues until someone finds it.

End result? Thousands of people learn something about Nevada's history, and the winners make some serious cash. Olson puts up a $500 prize (plus an additional $500 if the winner has registered on the hunt's official Web site,

The first clue will be released Monday, both in the Nevada Appeal and on the treasure hunt Web site. A new clue will appear every day thereafter for 15 days until the medallion is found.

Usually, it takes more than a week for that to happen, although during the hunt's second year a hunter found it after the third clue. A lot of luck was involved. The hunter had actually misinterpreted the first clue.

"It goes to show hunters even if you misinterpret a few clues, don't feel like you're behind," Olson said.

The search each year is based upon the theme of the Nevada Day Parade, and this year that is "Hollywood in Nevada " Movies and Television."

Olson, who owns Carson-based Sierra Electric, started the event in 2000, modeled after a contest he took part in as a youth in Portland, Ore. He said a few hundred people took part that first year. Last year, there were about 3,000 participants from all over the region, many of whom were working as teams or with family members.

There has never been a repeat winner in the hunt. Last year's winners, Danny Nuckolls and his daughter Morgan, found the medallion after 14 clues along the Galena Creek Park Nature Trail.

Olson and the other six members of the committee that help him began working on the clues and location in February. Over the years, they've hidden the medallion all over the region, including Silver City, Genoa, Reno's Rancho San Rafael Park, the Nevada State Museum and Boundary Park.

"Every year we keep getting better at what we do," he said of the group's clues.

The treasure hunt committee has just one message for hunters prior to Monday's official kickoff:

"With friends and family

Explore our great state

Have fun and learn a lot

We can hardly wait!"


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