4,000 participate in Jaycees’ Easter egg hunt | NevadaAppeal.com
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4,000 participate in Jaycees’ Easter egg hunt

Karl Horeis
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Megan Dressler, 15 months old, of Stagecoach, puts eggs in her basket while her mother plays with her twin during the children's first Easter egg hunt at Governor's Field on Sunday.
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The Carson City Jaycees spent about 700 hours working on Sunday’s Easter egg hunt at Governor’s Field. In three minutes, all their work was undone by about 4,000 excited kids.

Sixty volunteers boiled, dyed, and repackaged 25,000 eggs on Saturday. They were on the field at dawn Sunday, scattering the eggs and setting up the sound system.

The effort was worth it, said organizer Wendy Keller-Smith.

“It’s all about the look on their faces. When a child comes to you to get their prize and they only have one egg, it’s just a miracle. And it’s 100 percent for the community.”

Some kids cried Sunday morning, but most were having a great time.

“It’s really fun,” said Erica Cole, 9. She’s been to the hunt for five years. “I think about the times when I’ve won and the times when I haven’t. I’ve only won once – I won those candy duck things and a chocolate rabbit.”

Her cousin Brian Nelson, 9, was also excited about winning a prize.

“I’m going to win a bike. No, not a bike – a scooter.”

Erica’s mom, Tina Cole, was happy with the blue skies and warm weather.

“It’s been cold out here some years,” she said.

The Carson Jaycees have been organizing the hunts since 1976, when they took over for the 20-30 Club, according to Charlie Keller, Keller-Smith’s dad.

The Saturday egg boil – using nine large propane burners – is at his house.

The club ordered the eggs in January, and picked them up from Albertsons on Friday.

“I’ve been doing this since ’84, ’85,” said two-time past Jaycees president and volunteer Scott Fletcher. “That’s a lot of eggs ago.”

Club treasurer Lori Brown said the price of eggs has about doubled from last year.

“It’s scary writing a check for $1,200 – for eggs,” she said.

Charlie Keller said hunts in Reno were canceled due to rising costs.

“With all the Reno hunts canceled, we’ll probably break the 4,000 mark (on turnout),” he predicted.

The Carson Jaycees accept donations year-round and raise funds with their annual bunny bar visits. Any leftover money from the event is used to buy prizes for the following year, said Keller-Smith, who started working on the event with her father when she was 12.

“Now I’ve got mine involved at a young age,” she said, her 3-year-old daughter Elizabeth Ann standing at her knee.

But no matter what happens to egg prices, the Carson Jaycees will keep the hunts alive, Keller-Smith vowed.

“Getting prizes and financial support has always been hard, but we always make sure we get it done – even if we have to take it out of our own pockets.”

Contact Karl Horeis at khoreis@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.