The World’s Largest Treasure Hunt

by David J. Peterson

In the big red and white striped tent, crowded with soggy treasure hunters, an announcer was making presentations to the winners of the main hunt. "Congratulations Kenny, how did it feel to wind the big prize and be named "TREASURE WORLD, WORLD CHAMPION?"

The wet and tired Kenny Logan from Waycross, Georgia made his way to the microphone. "The weather bothered me quite a lot. The only thing I can say is, I just let the rod do whatever it feels it's going to do, and I foller it on in." This seems quite a modest statement from the new champion who had just won: a new 1989 Ford Fiesta, $10,000 in cash, a $5,000 gold necklace, a free vacation, and a completely stocked Electroscope® and TomaCo™ Inc. dealership package of treasure hunting equipment worth over $4,800.

I was delighted to be able to attend the big treasure hunt at Oregon Hill, Pennsylvania. I had seen advertisements in our TH'er magazines for quite some time which promised a large and different hunt. A unique aspect of the hunt was that each contestant entered in the "main event" must use only an Electroscope® (long range detection device) to locate hidden items. I had studied some Electroscope® information; I wanted to see for myself just how the instruments performed under field conditions.

Mac drove me from the Williamsport airport to the hunt site at Oregon Hill. Mac and I talked "treasure" for the entire 45 minute trip. Mac is a full time treasure hunter from Sulphur Springs, Texas. He couldn't participate in the hunt because he had duties in helping with the main hunt. We arrived at the hunt location where I met many treasure hunters. Most conversation that evening centered on the upcoming events.

The hunt with conventional detectors got underway the next morning. There were nearly three hundred square areas. Each square was about thirty feet across. Hidden or buried in the squares were over 1,000 silver dollars, 100 gold coins, jewelry, tokens worth good prizes, and thousands of silver coins of various years and denominations. The finds were buried randomly but equally in each square. Each searcher had a separate square. The grass was mowed around each square to show its location. After twenty minutes a whistle was to be blown. Then detectorists could go to a different square if they wished.

I found an unoccupied square and started searching. My detector confirmed that many coins were there. Some coins were at a depth of four inches. Since the grass was six inches high in spots, a detector had to achieve substantial depth for identifying these coins. David Cowell, the sales director for C-Scopes, visited my square. Since I was hunting with a C-Scope Clubman, I think he wanted to make sure I was efficient in the operation of my machine. My pocket, full of silver coins, reassured him; so we chatted about treasure hunting in different parts of the world as I beeped away on other coins.

The rain that had been sputtering all morning now got serious. I have wonderful rain gear, but it was all at home in California. Looking out over the vase treasure hunting fields I could see that nobody was stopping because of the deluge. Eventually all good things come to an end and so did the coins in my square.

Another hunt was about to begin. This was a "scavenger hunt" where everyone found their own searching paths, rather than the orderly "square claim" of the previous hunt. This field had an abundance of silver dollars. The vegetation in this zone was at least a foot tall so searching conditions were more difficult than before. The rain was coming in torrents by this time, but hunters searched on, unmindful of the soaking conditions. I was enjoying this hunt, but in the meantime, the World Class Competition Treasure Hunt was about to begin in a vast field nearby. I certainly wanted to watch this hunt so we left the silver dollar field for the "big time".

The main event hadn't begun because the rain was slowing down the preparations. A big balloon was being raised so that pictures could be taken from it to show the panorama. Competition hunters were nervously adjusting their Electroscopes® in a small tent beside the field. The hunters agreed to go ahead with the hunt in spite of the weather. Contestants drew numbers that would place them at certain locations. The vegetation in many spots was easily four feet high. Paths had been mowed through the area and there were little inlets off the paths where each hunter was stationed.

Hidden in the 68 acres tangle of foliage were 39 fruit jars that contained two ounces of silver each. Also hidden were 18 chests that contained seven ounces of silver each. A hunter was allowed a total of three jars and then had to find chests. Each field has the same amount of treasure, spread randomly. Fruit jars were within a 56 foot radius of the hunters, while chests were from 50 feet to 200 yards back from a scoper. If a hunter located a target with his Electroscope® , the person took a flag onto the field and planted it. The contestant could then search within ten feet of this flag with a conventional detector. Upon finding the cache a runner would take a tag found with the silver in the container to a judges stand where the total amount of silver for each hunter was tabulated. The person with the greatest amount of silver would win.

The hunters began searching. The silence of the large field was occasionally punctuated by shouts of judges announcing a find. As I strolled about the field I remembered I was carrying a large amount of silver from the conventional hunt. Perhaps this could confuse the competitive hunters if their scopes pointed at me rather than a cache. I quickly got into a position that wouldn't bother the scopers. A number of the conventional detectors became useless in the rain. Kenny Logan had two detectors that went out on him. He was able to recover his competition winning total using only his Model 301.

The greenery was so thick and tangled it was amazing anything could be found at all. Yet, at the end of the three hour hunt period, 74% of the treasure was found on the 68 acre field. Out of 25 hunters, 19 made recoveries. The hunt was decided in the last five minutes. Three hunters were close; a ding by someone could have meant a different champion.

Jeff Anderson from Oklahoma came in a close second. Jeff received a special $500 check. His regular metal detector became fouled so he made all finds with an Electroscope®. Al Amory from Canada came in third. George Accord from West Virginia was the fourth place winner. George had only owned an Electroscope® for one day and had received instruction from Kenny Logan on how to operate it. Paul from Utah and Dale from Ohio tied for fifth place.

At the end of the contest each contender felt like a winner just to have participated in this creative hunting event. The match was absolutely fair. One man, who had four heart bi-passes, was out striving for caches. He found one too! Some hunters felt the signals were weak. Electroscopes® respond better to pieces that have been in the ground a longer time. All the silver items in the hunt were "open air targets" which may have accounted for the weaker indications. Still, an amazing amount of caches were found under difficult conditions in competitive circumstances.

There were other hunts and gatherings that rounded out this treasure hunters weekend. I suppose the companionship and sharing of information with people of a similar interest were the best things that happened for everyone. I enjoyed becoming acquainted with treasure hunters from different parts of the globe. We all learned a great deal from the experience.

Here are a few things I learned about the Treasure World Champion: Kenny has been treasure hunting since he was nine years old. He has worked with an Electroscope® for two years. He uses a Model 301 in the field. Kenny will spend all day and night with a good project. He may spend several months in the field searching each day. He is systematically working his way through Georgia, scoping every 1/4 of a mile from the roads. If he finds a target he likes, he talks to the land owner to try to make a recovery deal. He says hard work, patience, and practice pay off for him.

When the hunt activities were completed, David Cowell introduced the first annual C-SCOPE AWARD to go to the person whose conduct has brought credit to the hobby of treasure hunting. The winner of this year's award went to: A man whose vision, perception, and tenacity makes a positive change possible." The winner was Thomas, the inventor of the Electroscope® detectors and organizer of the hunt.

I hitched a ride back to the airport with Thomas. I learned enough from Tom to fill a book, but will only relate a few things here. Tom is an avid, serous treasure hunter. Tom needed long range detection equipment to accomplish certain aspects of the sport he cares so much about so he developed Electroscopes®. Over a ten year span there were many setbacks and joys in the invention process. This successful, organized hunt, was a culmination of many of this goals. Tom does not intend to stop. He will continue to improve his treasure hunting equipment and refine the hunts. He is already preparing for next year.

I am eager for the hunt next year. I told Kenny that I would be a contender in the main event, but it didn't seem to scare him. The Greek philosopher Diogenes (412-323 B.C.) said, "PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT". Well scopers, I'll be out there preparing. See ya at the hunt next year!


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