The year has several months remaining, but 2018 has already been an eventful year for Angie Bumbalough of Marquette Heights
In January, Bumbalough was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Between February and July, she received six rounds of chemotherapy treatment. And Monday morning, less than two months after her last round of treatment, Bumbalough and her husband, Patrick, found the Pepsi Marigold Medallion around 7 a.m. Monday in a grove of trees north of Pekin Community High School.
“It was at the bottom of the hill where everybody sleds,” said Angie Bumbalough. “We kind of pieced that together with today’s clue that we thought meant sledding. It also referenced a group of trees. From being out looking in previous years, we knew there was a pretty significant group of trees at the bottom of that hill. We basically went straight down to it and found it in less than five minutes.”
Medallion cluemeister Gary Gillis released the latest clue, clue number seven, around 6:30 a.m. Monday, he said in his blog post at medallionhunt.blogspot.com on Monday. Around 40 minutes later, someone called to tell him the medallion had been found.
“A number of other hunters were in the vicinity,” he said in the blog post. “Such is the dedication and determination of hunters. And what a testimony to the popularity of the Pepsi-Marigold Medallion Hunt.”
Established in 1978, the Marigold Medallion Hunt is a preliminary event for Pekin’s Marigold Festival. The first clue as to the medallion’s location is posted on the Monday prior to Labor Day. Further clues are posted each day, except for Sunday, until the medallion is found. The Marigold Medallion Hunt attracts amateur detectives from all over the country. This year, hunters from out of the area were thwarted by a local couple, but they were not defeated by a casual jogger or dog-walker who stumbled across the prize through sheer luck. The Bumbaloughs are experienced medallion hunters in their own right.
“Angie has been hunting for the medallion every year since she was a little girl, when she looked for it with her mom,” said Patrick Bumbalough. “I’ve been hunting ever since we started dating 19 years ago. We actually found it once before, in 2007, and we’ve had six near-misses where we were in the right place, but someone else found it first.”
The Bumbaloughs’ medallion methodology can best be described as intelligence gathering. Over 40 years, Angie has compiled a thick binder full of information that may be pertinent to the search. The Bumbalough dossier grows every year and currently contains over 100 pages of maps, newspaper clippings dating back to 1978, past Medallion hunt clues, and information on local parks.
“On Mondays and Saturdays, the clue is posted at 6:30 in the morning,” said Angie. “So, we set our alarms and wait for it. Once it’s up, out the door we go. I think being from the area gives us an advantage over people coming from out of town, because obviously, we’re more familiar with the area. But out-of-town visitors can definitely get the information they need to find the medallion through online research: The Pekin Park District has a lot of information, they can look at maps, they can look at schools in the area, and they can check the Pekin government website.”
The Bumbaloughs have a choice between a three-night trip for two to Cancun, Mexico or a three-night trip for two to Las Vegas. They have not yet decided which trip they will take.
“We kind of want to go to Cancun,” said Angie. “But we’re not sure we want to go badly enough to go through the process of getting passports.”