It’s hidden under the cover of darkness and no small amount of countersurveillance techniques.
That’s right, the search for the Golden Football is about to begin. The annual Daily Journal contest, which offers readers three clues per week for up to four consecutive weeks, is slated to begin Tuesday.
Former publisher Rick Bacon, who now serves parent company Civitas Media as a regional business development manager, left The Daily Journal’s office at 105 E. Washington St. early Thursday afternoon with the Golden Football wrapped in a clear plastic bag and a protective arm around the object. He said he’ll take the football at an unusual time of day, use a vehicle that is not his own — and stow it somewhere in Richmond County.
Bacon said this year’s winner will be off to a great start to the holiday shopping season. The finder receives $500 in cold hard cash which, Bacon noted, “is pretty cool.”
Last year, Ellerbe resident Susie Raines didn’t need all 12 clues to find win the $500 cash prize. The amateur sleuth and veteran golden treasure hunter needed only four clues to uncover the ball’s place of hiding at Millstone 4-H Camp. If the contest winner is declared before the release of the eighth clue, a second-chance drawing of $100 will take place for those who complete and return the ballots that appear in The Daily Journal.
The football is one of three annual treasure hunts coordinated by Bacon. The Golden Egg is sought after near Easter and Golden Seashell season opens near the start of summer. The Daily Journal revived the Golden Egg contest in 2009 after a hiatus of several years. That same year, the other two contests were created.
Clues are placed in the newspaper three times a week — on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays — but are available 24 hours prior to publication at the contest’s following business sponsors: Carolina Jewerly and Pawn, Big K LP Gas, Cascades Tissue Group, La Cabana Mexican Restaurant, Brown Pest Control, Carolina Upholstery and Absolute Flooring.
The official rules:
• The football is located on property open to the public.
• The person finding the football must bring it to the Daily Journal’s office during regular business hours. In addition to bringing the football, you must bring the official authorization form (located inside the football) to prove authenticity.
• Claiming prizes authorizes the newspaper to use your name and picture in the newspaper.
• One clue will be announced in the paper each of the days the ad runs (12 times).
• Clues will be posted at participating stores 24 hours before they are published in the newspaper.
• In the event no one finds the football after 12 clues, ads will run one additional time, free of charge, with a clue that directs people to the football.
• The football will be visible without moving any permanent structures. It may be slightly covered by grass or leaves, but it is not guaranteed that it will not be covered by debris.
• There is only one authentic Richmond County Daily Journal Golden Football.
• Clues are available only by purchasing the newspaper or stopping by participating stores. If someone finds the football early (before the eighth clue runs), we will accept entries from an entry blank published on each additional ad, until all 12 ads have run. This will be a second chance drawing for $100.