Some 19 two-person teams line up at the unofficial starting line, as a cannon blast signals the start of the three-day race. Teammates run to their cars as some walk with the knowledge that it is a three-day race.
There are 24 Blanding businesses listed on each team “business sheet.” The teams are tasked with visiting the 24 businesses listed on the sheet in order to accomplish a set task at each location.
Each business location could be visited in any order that strategically worked best for the teams. Some of the businesses listed on the sheet were only open at night, and some of them were only open on Saturday.
Each team was given only one business sheet to prevent teammates from splitting up and accomplishing tasks individually.
“You have to have one sheet of paper with every signature on it,” organizer and Blanding City Council member Cheryl Bowers says to the crowd. “That voids anybody trying to split up and go to two places at once.
“You have to use this sheet of paper and every business will sign and time stamp when you have finished your task in that place or business.”
Teams were specifically told at the beginning of the race to obey the speed limit, as there has been trouble with that in the past during the Monticello Treasure Hunt.
“In Monticello when they did this, they had people driving, like, a 100 miles per hour in Monticello,” Bowers says to the amassed teams. “So that’s why we are doing it over three days.”
Bowers, along with the help of Pratt Redd and volunteer Kara Laws, came up with the idea to get people into local Blanding businesses.
“The goal is to get people in there to say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know you had this,’” Bowers said. “One clue, for example, was the Grayson General Store. They used to be Dollar Tree. They just changed their name to the Grayson General Store, so the only thing they know is that you have to find this long-standing business that just changed their name.”
The event was then sponsored by the San Juan Chamber of Commerce, Blanding Chapter. Bowers got the idea from the television show The Amazing Race and adapted a Blanding version to fit the purpose of spreading local businesses and the bought in Blanding concept.
When the contestants finished the race, they were instructed to post something on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag bought in Blanding.
“I heard so many positive comments about the race. There was definitely some drama with one business left for some competitors, but we learned a lot and will make it even more amazing next year,” Bowers said. “We couldn’t have done this without our wonderful team members who worked so hard to finish and our amazing businesses in Blanding who took time out of their busy days to make challenges fun for our race participants.
“I really think we accomplished our goal, of letting our community members learn more about what Blanding has to offer while giving our community something super fun to do.”