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Fair medallion found on second day

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd Dispatch
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Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

It was tucked so far back in the Grandstand at the Crow Wing County Fairgrounds, the father and son duo thought they probably shouldn't be there.

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So far back that big brother Josh Hofmann, 17, was "too lazy" to scope out the spot he thought the medallion could be hidden.

So his dad, Paul Hofmann, and younger brother Patrick, 15, took the long stroll past the bleachers, the main field and into the browning, spotty grass on the far end of the fairgrounds.

It was there, about 10 feet from an aging Pepsi sign, tucked inside a worn tire, that Patrick found the coveted hidden fair medallion Wednesday.

For the past five years, the Fort Ripley family has been coming to the fair to compete in the 4-H goat shows. They use the medallion hunt as a means to pass the down time.

This is the second time they've found the hidden coin. The first was two years ago.

This time around, the family of five, including mom, Kirsten, and 10-year-old Thomas, started the hunt early Tuesday before the 5:30 p.m. goat competition.

They searched the common places - under benches, picnic tables and around buildings - because the clue wasn't very helpful.

"We had to search the obvious places to eliminate them," Paul said.

Clue one: "The medallion hunt has begun, you could be the lucky one."

The second clue, though, caused the group to use some creative thinking.

Clue two: "See a sign for a refreshing drink, it may be closer than you think."

They started in the south parking lot Wednesday morning, just in sight of the Pepsi building across the street. They moved to the giant blowup Monster can, the buildings and other drink-related signs.

Then Josh remembered an old Pepsi sign he saw a couple of years ago during a past medallion hunt.

"It was a long ways to walk," Josh said. So he stayed back, as did Kirsten and Thomas, to grab some lunch.

Paul and Patrick headed toward that old sign.

"When we were walking here I thought we'd be told to get out," Paul laughed.

But Patrick had a good feeling. He knew they'd find it.

After about 15 minutes, Patrick saw a piece a plastic inside a tire, which he picked up to throw in the trash. But inside, the medallion sat.

They found the treasure at about 1 p.m. Wednesday.

To celebrate, the pair did a fist bump and casually walked back. They didn't want to draw any attention to the empty field.

Now, all the Hofmann family has to do is decide how to split the $1,000 in prize money. After all, each family member claims some hand in the successful treasure hunt.

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Jessie Perrine
Jessie covers the Brainerd City Council and the Brainerd School Board. Born and raised in southern Minnesota, Jessie attended Winona State University, where she majored in journalism with a minor in women and gender studies. She worked at the Winona Daily News, Tomah Journal and the La Crosse Tribune before starting at the Dispatch in 2012.
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