For the first time in history, the Hutchinson Jaycee Water Carnival has a double winner.
After only two clues, the Water Carnival medallion was found Tuesday evening by the group of Dany Stoufer, Brittany Stoufer and Rachel Smith. They found it hidden among the daylilies beneath the Northwoods Park sign.
But here’s the kicker: Dany was also the Water Carnival button design winner this year.
“I don’t know if anybody has won the button design and found the medallion in the same year,” he said. “So I might be the first, I don’t know.”
While the $75 prize for winning the button contest was nice, Dany was even more excited to claim the $500 prize for finding the medallion.
“It took a lot less work,” he said with a laugh.
The group has been hunting for the medallion for the past five years. Like so many others, they came close two years ago when the family of Luke, Lydia and Emma Wollan found it in Masonic/West River Park on the sixth day of the hunt.
“I think everybody was looking in that same spot in the tall grass,” Smith said.
Last year, Neil Branstad found it on the first day at Elks Park.
For this year’s medallion hunters, it was a matter of geography. Thanks to the first two clues, they knew it was in Hutchinson and near a sign. They live next to Northwoods Park, so it was the first place they visited.
“This is usually the first one we’ll hit. … So we just walked over here, checked this one out, and within five minutes we found it,” Dany said.
“Dany was like, ‘Did I just see it? Can I honestly see it?’” Brittany said. “And then Rachel bent down and grabbed it and we were kind of in shock. … It was literally within minutes after we left the house.”
“We literally stared at each other and were like, ‘I can’t believe we found it.’ We just kept saying that over and over,” Brittany added.
The group didn’t have any immediate plans for the prize money but celebrated with frozen yogurt Wednesday evening. As for who will keep the medallion, Dany is hoping his partners will give him the emblem that bears his design, but they may have other ideas.
“We’re going to rotate custody,” Smith joked.