Ron Wardleigh, of Ogden, speaks about finding a $10,000 prize in Nevada at the Weber County Fairgrounds in Ogden Tuesday | Scout to Hunt, Instagram
SALT LAKE CITY (KSL.com) — An Ogden man said he was determined to find a $10,000 treasure in Nevada after missing out on a similar opportunity in Utah, even though he wasn’t as familiar with the Silver State.
Ron Wardleigh, of Ogden, and a coworker of his found an elk shed antler worth $10,000 on Valley Mountain near Wells, Nevada, on Friday night. It is one of five scavenger hunts that the Utah-based shed hunting app company Scout To Hunt had placed in five Western states this year.
“I was like, ‘There’s no way! We freaking found it,’” Wardleigh said, in a video posted to the company’s social media page Tuesday. “(We) cried a little bit, prayed a little bit. I couldn’t call my wife until we got back down to service (range), but she was freaking out that we actually found it — she didn’t believe we would.”
Scout to Hunt announced in February that it would hold five scavenger hunts, one each in Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and New Mexico. All pay out $10,000, which is distributed in either bitcoin or cash. The Arizona, Idaho and New Mexico hunts began between March and April, while the Nevada scavenger hunt began on May 1 along with a similar effort in Utah.
A photo of the elk trophy found at Valley Mountain near Wells, Nevada, on Friday. It had been placed there as a part of a scavenger hunt that began on May 1. | Courtesy Ron Wardleigh via Scout to Hunt
The beginning dates were scattered out to adjust for any remaining winter conditions. For instance, Scout to Hunt couldn’t start its Utah hunt until the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources lifted its shed hunting ban that was put in place to protect wildlife during a critical time of the season.
Kreed and Kley Keele, of Price, found the Utah treasure by the Cricket Mountains southwest of Delta about two weeks into the hunt, beating people like Wardleigh who were zeroing in on the area, according to the company.
So Wardleigh turned to Utah’s western neighbor. He admits that he doesn’t have much experience with Nevada’s landscape, but luckily he did have a second co-worker who grew up ranching in the area and was able to help him decode a series of clues. That helped him to first narrow it down to eastern Nevada before he zeroed in on the Wells area and, eventually, Valley Mountain.
He also decided to explore the area on Friday because he figured he could beat the competition if he looked for it a day before the weekend.
“We freaking spent a while (there). I think I walked by this thing about 12 times and finally kind of stumbled upon it,” Wardleigh said, explaining that he found it around 7 p.m. when there wasn’t much daylight left. “I found it literally about a half-hour before dark (and) drove out in the dark … got back to Wells and texted it in.”
Even with the trophy in hand, Wardleigh joked that he’s not done yet. The Arizona and New Mexico riddles had yet to be solved as of Wednesday.
If not those, he’d like to get his hands on another riddle next year.
“We’re already talking about next year,” he said. “We’re like, ‘We’ve got to find another one.’”
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