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July 05th, 2020

=====FLASHBACK: JUNE 26,  2012=====

-Sponsored by: Shelter Insurance, Jose Lara





=====HEADLINE: Jun 26,  2012=====

Tough clues cause difficulties for some 


  •  Leader & Times

A few minutes after noon and with the sun beating down, three teams gathered to officially start the 2012 edition of the Ozsome Race, and while three teams would start, only one would finish.

In the second year of the competition, the clues are a little harder, the tasks more challenging, and some teams were left looking in the wrong places while one team navigated through the challenges and clues to locate Dorothy and qualify for the final race that will bring with it a $2,000 cash prize.

The race began at the recently renovated Light Park on the pavilion stage.

The first team to arrive for the race was a familiar one — Cammy and Dale Harrold participated several times last year, and while they steadily improved, they were never able to claim a first place finish.

The next team to arrive called themselves Six Pack, even though they were two short of that number.

The couples of John and Becky Todd along with Ruben and Angela Eichman represented the Six Pack with teammates John Todd Jr., and Rayce Warden to join in later this summer.

The final team to arrive by the 12 noon deadline was the Speed of Light team with Corban, Joshua and Tabitha Barnett along with Oscar Don Juan.

The rules of the game are relatively simple — follow the clues, complete the tasks and be the first to do so and find Dorothy, and you win the qualifying race.

While the rules are relatively simple (there is some legal mumbo jumbo as well), the tasks and the clues can prove to be a challenge, and the teams found that out very early in the race.

Starting with locating the first envelope with the initial destination.

Don Juan, Dale Harrold and Angela Eichman were designated to find the first clue attached to the new playground equipment at Light Park.

Eichman found it first and gave her team a two-minute head start as Oscar and Dale struggled to locate the envelopes.

“The one kid was right behind me when I found it,” Angela said. 

The clue played off an old jingle, “Baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and ___________.” The correct answer was Chevrolet, which led the teams to Stu Emmert’s.


The first one to show up at Stu Emmert’s Automotive for the initial task was the Six Pack team. 

As the four racers entered the showroom, Stu Emmert’s Duane Headrick handed the team one of four envelopes. The task was to select one team member and have he or she go into the car lots – there are three in all – and find a specific VIN, or vehicle identification number. Once located, the racer had to write down the year, make, model and color of the vehicle and return to Headrick for confirmation it was the right vehicle.

John Todd was chosen by his teammates to handle the task. John immediately headed across Second Street into the southeast lot, starting on his right and moving east to the end. He was moving quickly, but seemed sure he was not missing the number.

As he started back west on the second row, John came to a small black Buick. He hesitated, checked and checked and then went looking for the information required in his task sheet.

He then ran back across the street and turned in the sheet to Headrick, who confirmed that was the VIN vehicle he had been given. The other teams that would follow would be seeking different vehicles – no two VINs were alike.

Headrick gave his approval and handed the team their next clue about where the next task would take place. The Six Pack minus two were whooping it up as they flew out the doors.

“Luckily the car was in the second row,” Ruben said. “That didn’t take too long.”

About 15 to 20 minutes after the 6-Packs had departed, Oscar Don Juan of the team Speed of Light came in the side door of Stu Emmert’s and was immediately told all team mates had to come in.

Headrick then handed them the task to find a VIN on a vehicle somewhere in the maze of cars, pickups, vans and SUVs. Team mates Corban Barnett, Tabitha was selected for the task.

She immediately headed out the south main doors and went to her right into the lot of new pickups. After checking four, she swung around and crossed the street into the used cars jumping from one or two in a row, then back onto the second row over in the new cars. She seemed to be betting on random checks to find the VIN rather than John Todd’s method of going down one row and back up the next.

She eventually found the proper car and was given her next destination.

It would be almost an hour before The Harrolds would locate Stu Emmert.

“We thought the clue meant baseball,” Harrold would later say. “We were going to every baseball field in town. Then Cammy figured out it was a car lot.”

His team wouldn’t be the last to comb the fields incorrectly, but that is still a little ways off.


The next destination clue read, “Everything is Better, with _______  ____________ on it.” The correct interpretation was Blue Bonnet, and teams were instructed to go the northern edge of the location and to find the water fountain (located between the two tee ball fields) for their next task clue.

“First we thought, ‘Everything is better with salt and pepper,’” Ruben said. “It took us a while on that one.”

Becky said that sent the group to Salty Dog.

“We ran all over there,” Becky said. We thought about eating while we wer there.”

“No one knew what we were doing,” Ruben said. “Once we figured out it was Blue Bonnet, then we had to throw the frisbee in the wind.”

The Six Pack team was the first and only team to ever reach the second challenge at north Blue Bonnet Park. The team arrived at 12:40 p.m. to pitch frisbees into a frisbee golf goal.

Given a choice between a 3-par and 5-par goal, the team chose Ruben Eichman to battle the wind on the 5-par course. Several high-flying attempts to chunk the frisbee at the goal were made before Eichman began using lower throws for more control. A soccer goal between the starting line and goal caught frisbees a couple of times, sending him back to the starting line. 

After nearly 15 minutes of missed shots, Eichman got his frisbee into the goal in five throws after eight attempts. The team received their envelope and immediately guessed their next location at Mead Lumber. 

“It was tough,” Ruben said. “You would get close, and then the last shot would take off. My arm is a little longer. We even tried to wait a while for the wind to die down. It never did so we decided to go ahead.”


The third stop in the competition was at Mead Lumber Do-It-Center, and the temperature was rising. It was a little after 1 p.m. when driving through the back lumber yard was Ruben Eichman. He was told all team members had to be there. He said the others were coming through the store, and shortly thereafter, they ran into the yard. They were taken to the west side of the yard, and given their envelope with the task for that site. Mead’s Chuck Sumner had stacked dog-eared cedar fence planks on boards in rows of six, eight planks to each level and three levels high.

The 6-Packs had to select two members to take those planks – 144 in all – and move them about 10 feet and restack them in the same manner and neatness.

John and Ruben nominated Becky and Angela for the task, and the two women went to work. 

They soon discovered the lathe spacers that separated eight planks so those could all be handled in one lift. They also had to stop and rearrange several stacks when they realized they had to put them back the way they were ­ with the lathe spacers.

They soon got that straightened out and got after it. With the heat and even hotter wind they started slowing some, but with encouragement from the guys – such as “Hurry up!” which brought a cold stare from the gals, they finished in about 18 minutes.

“They got a workout,” Ruben said of the two women team members.

Not realizing it, they then received their fifth and final clue for where the last task would be conducted, and off they ran, jumping into their vehicle and driving away.

But, another tough clue caused some confusion.

The clue: “If you want to have a LULLABY, you have to get permission from this LEAGUE.”

The answer was the Lullaby League Munchkins at Dorothy’s House, but the Six Pack was thinking baseball and became the second team of the day to comb the fields.

First we thought it was Babe Ruth, so we went to the baseball fields,” Ruben Eichman said. “We went to every baseball field in town. But then we started doing the Dorothy thing.”

“Angela started singing it,” Becky Todd said. “She just kept going on and on and on.”

“We were doing the lollipop guys,” Ruben said. “But that wasn’t it.”

The crew finally decided it was Oz-related and headed to Dorothy’s House where they found the Lullaby League girl along with three of her Munchkin friends on the Land of Oz Playground.

Once there, they had to toss bean bags through each of the head cutouts where tourists regularly take pictures of themselves as the Munchkins.

John Todd was given the task to complete, and on his first four tosses he was able to get one.

Soon, he made another, and it wasn’t long before he had made all four.

The team received their final verbal clue, “These used to roam across the prairie freely in Dorothy’s day. Find one of them, and you will find Dorothy.”

The “Wizard of Oz” was written in 1900, and the animal that roamed freely in the 1880s to 1900 were buffalo.

Inside the Coronado Museum, Dorothy waited for the first team to arrive next to the buffalo head on display.

But it would take another three minutes of searching outside for the Six Pack team before they would look inside the museum and discover Dorothy.

“Congratulations,” Dorothy told the Six Pack team. “You are the first team to arrive, and you have qualified for the race final where you will have a chance to compete for the $2,000 cash prize.”

The team had no idea where they were with the other teams, because they were not sure everyone was headed in the same direction.

“You think  you are in last place,” Ruben said. “You hit a stump and you think it all went south, and you are losing time. You think the lead you had is gone. You think another team got it right away, like the Blue Bonnet.”

But the other teams were struggling with the clues and the tasks, and that gave the Six Pack a clear advantage.

“It was really fun,” Angela said. “We’ve been pumped about doing it.”

But playing the game proved to be a challenge.

“It’s tougher than you think it is,” Becky said. “It really is. Once you get going, it’s tough.”

Yeah, when you are on the outside you say, ‘Man that looks easy,’” Ruben said. 

“Especially when you are trying to hurry,” Becky added. “But it was fun.”

Angela pointed out another challenge. “And obey the law,” she quipped. 

The Six Pack led from start to finish, locating the first clue at Light Park, arriving first at Stu Emmert, first at North Blue Bonnet, first at Mead Lumber, and finally first at the Land of Oz.

The win qualified the Six Pack for the race final at the Five State fair where they will have a chance to race for the $2,000 cash prize.

About 30 minutes after the Six Pack had won, the Harrolds arrived at the Coronado Museum.

“We dont have a white flag, but if we did, we would wave it,” Dale said.

Although Team Harrold and Speed of Light struggled in the first 2012 race, they will have a chance to return to the field of competitors in upcoming weeks for another shot at qualifying for the $2,000 race.

This week, another group of teams will once again turn the high plains into a giant race and obstacle course, testing their knowledge of the community with their ability to perform tasks.

The winning team will qualify and join the Six Pack at the Seward County Fair in the race finale.

And a familiar team with a new addition will be returning this week in an attempt to retain their title. Three Cougars and a Cub have added another Cub to the team, and will return for a chance to finish first.

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