Scavenger hunters take over Salem-Keizer this weekend

It will be an exciting weekend for local puzzle enthusiasts thanks to a Keizer-based Farmers Insurance agent.

Matthew Poteet, owner of the Poteet Insurance Agency and an affiliate of Farmers Insurance, wanted to come up with an idea that would help promote his new Keizer office and give the community a chance to begin reconnecting after a long 15 months. He landed on a scavenger hunt, but had no idea the size of the ball he was setting in motion. 

Poteet organized the event as a chance to get together in a safe way and to have some fun.

“We wanted this to be a celebration so we are asking businesses to turn their music up, have some games, and be ready to engage with everybody,” Poteet said.

He said the response to the event was so overwhelming that he had to cut off additional sponsorship from local businesses.

Registration closed Thursday, May 6, with more than 100 registered participants. Due to COVID restrictions, clues for the event will be digital and everyone will be required to wear a mask. Players received a text message with their first clue at 10 a.m. Friday. 

Finding the right spot might result in performing a challenge that needs to be completed before receiving another clue. After all clues are solved, participants travel to a final location and receive a raffle ticket.

The raffle ticket can then be exchanged for a chance to win a prize. However, even if a player doesn’t win a big prize, there is still a chance they won’t walk away empty-handed.

“The goal is that everyone will walk away with something,” Poteet said.

Poteet said that he plans to give away merchandise to players once they have won and numerous local businesses have contributed additional prizes. While organizing the event, Poteet paid special attention to what prospective players might need in terms of time and distance constraints.  

As a result, most routes could be tailored to players needs and desires. If one group of players opted to stay in Keizer while another preferred a more sprawling route through Salem, both were available. The path taken after that initial decision was almost completely up to players based on the choices they made.