Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Wyoming Riddler

Joe Cramer (The Wyoming Riddler) passed away on Friday May 22, 2020. For 33 years, he did free treasure hunts in the greater Grand Rapids area. He developed the riddles as a way to keep his mind sharp after surviving a serious case of carbon monoxide poising in 1978. He also wrote a book called "Joe's Story: The Book of a Lifetime" which can be purchased on Amazon. While the treasure hunts were free, they were also used as a vehicle to remind and educate people about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. His website is still up, though it may not be updated. 

Some selected articles:

The last treasure hunt: ‘Wyoming Riddler’ retires after 34 years of silver bounty
Every winter, hundreds of people living around Grand Rapids go on a treasure hunt of sorts. They’ve been doing it for decades. Robert Lyons has been hooked on the treasure hunt for 25 years. Over the years, he’s taken his kids and even his grandkids. Lyons found the treasure once. He’s still got the newspaper clipping....

Veteran treasure hunter solves the last 'Wyoming Riddle'
I got some bittersweet news this morning. Bitter because after more than 30 years running, the last “Wyoming Riddler” treasure hunt is over. Sweet because one of the veteran hunters I followed to tell the story last month turned out to be the winner...

One last chance: Here's the Wyoming Riddler's final puzzle
Joe Cramer, also known as the Wyoming Riddler for more than three decades, issues his final puzzle today. Here’s the deal: Cramer has hidden a small, oval medallion out in the snow somewhere in the greater Grand Rapids area, and you can use a street map to decipher the riddle and find it. A mug and treasure of silver items awaits the winner. And this is your last chance...

The alchemy of silver and carbon monoxide? Hint: it’s a riddle
For 33 years, Joseph Cramer sent area residents on mind-bending treasure hunts. Not for the short on patience, each hunt began with a nebulous riddle and ended with a prize: a silver medallion from Cramer’s vast collection...

The GRRiddler

For 33 years, Grand Rapids-area residents looked forward to beating the winter doldrums by searching for treasure thanks to The Wyoming Riddler. In 2014, Joe Cramer retired as the Wyoming Riddler. Now, five years later, the winter tradition is being reborn. As an homage to his service and the years of free fun created by Joe, I'm launching an annual treasure hunt as The GRRiddler (Grand Rapids Riddler).

Keeping in Joe's tradition, The GRRiddler will hide a metal medallion somewhere in the greater Grand Rapids area. The medallion will be marked with R.S.T.H (which means Read and Seek Treasure Hunt). On the first Tuesday of November the riddle will be released. The puzzle can be solved by using a greater Grand Rapids area map to decipher the clues. The medallion will be accessible 24 hours a day by the public. Additional clues will be released the first Tuesday of each month until February. The hunt will end on the last day of February. If the medallion is not returned to me by that time, the hunt will be over and the prize will roll over to the next year.

The Treasure

In keeping with The Wyoming Riddler’s tradition, the treasure will include a coveted winner’s mug and a treasure of silver and other items beyond description. The treasure will also include a carbon monoxide detector as a means to continue Joe's desire to educate people about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Rules

You must find the medallion and personally bring it to me. Once you find it, email me with details about where you found it and we will arrange a time and place to meet. At that time, you may redeem the medallion for the prize. The medallion and prize exchange must be done in person. I will not accept photographs, mailed or anonymous claims. 

Some of The Wyoming Riddler's
medallions. Mine will be similar.
The medallion is accessible 24 hours a day without trespassing. It is not on private property. It is not completely buried. You may have to move grass, snow or leaves to see it. It is no higher than three feet above ground. It is not located within 100 feet of a school, public building, mall or post office. 

The riddle tells you the location. It can be found by using a street map of the greater Grand Rapids, Michigan area. You must figure out how. I will not deceive you.

Additional clues will be issued on the first Tuesday of every month until solved or until midnight on the last day of February. If the riddle is not solved by midnight on the last day of February, the game will end and the treasure will be added to the following year. You may email to ask questions. However, I will not answer questions that result in an advantage to you. By emailing questions, you are giving me authorization to post them publicly (without your name included) if I choose to do so.

My home or place of employment have no bearing on the medallion’s location. I have told no one of its location. Everyone is eligible to participate including past winners and their relatives.

You are looking for an oval metal medallion about the size of a business card. It has identifiable markings beyond those pictured, so attempting to counterfeit a medallion will be of no use. 

There is no cost to you. It is free for the enjoyment. This is a game and it’s just for fun. In the spirit of Joe Cramer (The Wyoming Riddler) I do ask you to remember the dangers related to chronic carbon monoxide poisoning.

Additional Stuff
In consideration of participating in this treasure hunt or any Read and Seek treasure hunt, and for other good and valuable consideration, you agree to release and discharge from liability Martin Smith and all other persons or entities acting for him (hereinafter collectively referred to as "Releasees") as follows:
1. You acknowledge that treasure hunting involves known and unanticipated risks which could result in physical or emotional injury and property damage. 
2. You expressly accept and assume all of the risks inherent in this activity. Your participation in this activity is purely voluntary and you elect to participate despite the risks. In addition, if at any time you believe that search conditions are unsafe or that you are unable to participate due to physical or medical conditions, then you will immediately discontinue participation.  
3. You hereby voluntarily release, forever discharge, and agree to indemnify and hold harmless Releasees from any and all claims, demands, or causes of action which are in any way connected with your participation in this treasure hunt.