Dec 6, 2012 - From staff reportsCharles White had just finished a meal at the Riverton Senior Citizens Center on Wednesday afternoon when his friend Dave Hatcher asked if he'd like to take a ride. Hatcher was heading out on the hunt in The Ranger's Find the Football contest.
"I decided to go along riding with him," White said, "and it worked out all right."
About 30 minutes later, the 85-year-old rural Riverton resident had the valuable football in his hands.
"It was out on Bass Lake Road," said White, who lives on Burma Road. "We stepped it off at 2.7 miles from the highway like the clue said, and it was about 20 feet off the blacktop up against a piece of sagebrush."
Though the search was Hatcher's idea, White technically found the football. The rancher and retired engineer and construction worker pockets $250 for the find, along with a No. 18 Denver Broncos jersey autographed by quarterback Peyton Manning, and two tickets to Denver's Dec. 30 game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver.
White said he offered the prize to Hatcher "because he was the one who had been looking for it, but he said 'No, you take it in. You found it.'"
Hatcher accompanied White to The Ranger office late Wednesday afternoon.
Nine of the 10 possible clues had been published in the newspaper, along with two online clues at dai
lyranger.com. White said he hadn't seen either of the Internet clues.
Beginning Nov. 23, the scrambled-letter clues had directed searchers to a rural location north of Riverton, and had mentioned a clump of sagebrush and "2.7 miles." Wednesday's clue cited Bass Lake Road for the first time, and Thursday's clue could have been deciphered to reveal that the hiding place wasn't far past the West Loop Road intersection.
White said he might give the game tickets to his sister, who lives in Story.
"She's a Broncos fan," he said.
A resident of Fremont County for 77 years, White said he often eats at the Shoshoni senior center, "but Wednesday is my day to go to Riverton to eat. We got the paper today and then drove right out. I used to trail cows out there, so I'm pretty acquainted with Bass Lake Road."
He said several other cars were showing up near the hiding place as he and Hatcher were leaving, but he didn't reveal that he had found the ball.
"I had the football under my shirt, and I figured 'let 'em look.' We never said a word."
This was the first Find the Football Contest, which joins the long-running Wild West Winter Carnival Medallion Treasure Hunt and Balloon Block hunt in conjunction with Riverton Rendezvous every summer, and the Ranger Easter Egg Hunt in the spring. The WWWC medallion hunt begins in about a month.
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