Thousands of people have visited Eldorado Park’s gazebo over the past decade, blissfully unaware that there was $10,000 hiding under a bench. It seems as if it came in the form of a chrome Z that was hidden as part of an elaborate treasure hunt.
When David Steele was in Las Vegas to watch the World Series of Poker, he put the chrome letter under a bench on a whim. It wasn’t anything special, it was just a stick-on car decoration that he purchased at a local auto parts store.
Later, he went back to the city and checked at the park, and lo and behold, the chrome letter was still in place. That is when he came up with an idea to start a treasure hunt and he wanted to make sure it would stay in place.
People from across the United States were taking part in the “great US treasure hunt.” There were clues for 4 hidden items and each of them is worth $10,000.
Try to have fun with a treasure hunt, and @HarveyLevinTMZ will do his best Debbie Downer impression.
— The Great U.S. Treasure Hunt (@GreatUSTreasure) December 23, 2020
Hunting for treasure is nothing new for Steele. He loved the book The Secret when it was published in 1982 and has been a huge fan of treasure hunts ever since. That book is one that promises an opportunity to find small items that are buried in the United States. There are 12 in total.
Steele visited Las Vegas because he read the book, and he was searching for one of the treasures that were mentioned in it. In an illustration in the book, there was a figure that looked like a genie and he thought about the Aladdin hotel and casino, which used to be on the grounds where Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino Now Exists.
Although Steele was not able to decipher that original code, the unofficial website for the treasure hunt says that it is likely in Houston and not Las Vegas. Only three out of the 12 treasures from The Secret have been found, leading to many reprintings of that original book.
It seems as if the writer of The Secret was not necessarily interested in people finding the original treasures, more interested in the hunt. That wasn’t the case for Steele, however, because he did want people to find his hidden treasures. He released his own book but he didn’t bury the treasures, he just hid four items that are fairly common in different parts of the country. Each of them is worth $10,000 to the person who finds them.
Nobody knew about the chrome Z until the book was published electronically on November 13, 2020. It wasn’t long before people were interested in trying to decipher his clues and earn a little bit of cash.
A bonus clue was released 30 days after the book on the official Twitter account.
This is the first bonus clue for The Great U.S. Treasure Hunt.
Singing loudly for all to hear, if it’s a One Hit Wonder, then it should be clear, start your quest for treasure there.
— The Great U.S. Treasure Hunt (@GreatUSTreasure) December 13, 2020
An artist from Pittsburgh, Beth Hovanec, used that clue to figure out the puzzle. Letters from the “One Hit Wonders” found in chapter 4 of the book helped to spell out the message: “North Vegas, Eldorado Bench, Silver Z.”
Although she lived on the other side of the country, she had a friend, Nancy Zitko, who was only a few miles from that park bench. Zitko went to the park at 7:00 AM on a Sunday morning and found the Z on the bottom of the bench using the flashlight on her phone.
After they sent a picture of the artifact and the solution used to find it to the official email address, it was payday.
The item for Chapter 4 has been stuck under a bench in Eldorado Park in North Vegas for nearly 10 years.
We last checked on it in July, and now it’s finally been found! pic.twitter.com/3zPXMsCRk7
— The Great U.S. Treasure Hunt (@GreatUSTreasure) December 20, 2020
It seems as if there were others who were almost ahead of Zitko. Some even complained to Steele that the letter wasn’t where it was supposed to be later that same day.
Steele is heading to Las Vegas to deliver the $10,000 prize. The contest rules state that $9000 is given to Hovanec for solving it and $1000 to Zitko for finding it.
Three items, each with a price tag of $10,000, are still at large. Additional bonus clues are going to be posted to his Twitter page every 30 days. Who knows, perhaps your big payday is next?