Jaycees 27th annual Easter egg hunt draws 3,000 | NevadaAppeal.com

Jaycees 27th annual Easter egg hunt draws 3,000

Karl Horeis

Proud, baby-talking parents peering through hand-held video cameras surrounded their 1-year-olds as they collected colored eggs Sunday during the 27th annual Carson City Jaycees Easter Egg Hunt at Governor’s Field.

Little ones with chubby arms slowly grabbed the hand-dyed eggs, putting them in their mouths and drooling on their Sunday best. The egg hunters were divided into six groups: ages 0-1; 2-3; 4-5; 6-7; 8-9; and 10 and over.

Two-year-old Madeline Rodriguez counted her egg collection on the edge of the base line. Red, yellow, purple and orange, she lined them up on the dirt as her parents, Jesus and Maria, watched.

“It was crowded,” said Jesus Rodriguez of the big event. His older daughter, Carla, an Empire Elementary student, gathered about 25 eggs.

Another Empire student, 9-year-old Cole Chandler, said, “There was a lot of people, but it’s a great event because it only happens once a year, really. It’s kind of like a race to the finish.”

How many eggs did he get?

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“Well, I ate two, let’s see… 11.” One of his plastic eggs held a special prize — a ticket for a free breakfast at Sonic Drive In. He attended the hunt with his mom, Paula Chandler.

On Saturday, about 60 Carson City Jaycees and a handful of Rainbow Girls boiled 25,000 eggs and dyed them with food coloring. They used submersion pots borrowed from the Nevada Air National Guard, according to former Jaycee Charles Keller.

Keller estimated Sunday’s attendance at 2,500 to 3,000. The banner said it was the 27th annual hunt, but it’s been going on longer than that, said Jaycee Sherrill Sundell.

Sometimes parents get over excited and aggressive, she said, but “The goal is to have fun and to let the kids have fun,” she said.

She’s happy they can provide a free Easter event.

“We’ve never charged. We’ve always managed to do it at no cost to the community, which I think is great.”

Special guests were Ronald McDonald, Sparky the firefighting dog with the Carson City Fire Department, multiple Easter bunnies, and crash test dummies Larry and Vince, presented by the Nevada Highway Patrol.

“We just like to come out so the kids can see (the crash test dummies),” said trooper Michael Gyll. “The kids can really identify with them.”

One bunny was the new caretaker for Governor’s Field, Marjorie Butts. She has been in town for 10 years, and took over officially as caretaker on April 1.

Jim Sadilek of the Carson City Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit said, “We’re mostly directing traffic, but looking for lost kids, too.”

Four riders with the Carson City Sheriff’s reserve mounted unit helped out.

“Everybody’s having fun,” said Deputy Cathy Bruno of Dayton while children petted the neck of her black-and-white horse. “Everybody’s basket is full.”