Photo by Matt Stensland
Jeff Herfurtner, from left, his wife ,Tammy, Shaunna Watterson and her husband, Brian, pose with the Yule log that was uncovered Monday in Rita Valentine Park.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Yule log found
The Watterson and Herfurtner families talk about their history with the Yule Log Hunt and how they found the yule log this year.
Steamboat Springs If Yule log hunting were a sport, the Watterson and Farrell families would be a dynasty.
Brian Watterson brought an official end to the 28th annual Yule Log Hunt when he spotted the 50-pound hunk of wood in Rita Valentine Park in Steamboat Springs on Monday.
Watterson and his wife, Shaunna, found the Yule log during Shaunna's lunch break. Shaunna said the log was near the Rita Valentine Park sign.
"I was in my short boots, so I made him trounce through the snow," she laughed.
Prizes for finding the log include a $150 gift certificate from the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and a framed historical photograph from the Tread of Pioneers Museum.
"We have a lot of fun," Shaunna Watterson said. "It's been a family tradition. We've been hunting for the log since John Bower was writing the clues."
The Watterson, Farrell and Selch families have found the log an estimated 13 times since the community tradition began 28 years ago. The families are related and often collaborate together. This year, Shaunna said she and her husband were helped by her sister, Tammy Herfurtner.
Alan Selch and Glen Farrell found the log in 2005. Last year, Steamboat residents Tom Whiddon and Scott Schaffer found the log in Memorial Park near Steamboat Springs High School.
It was Monday's clue No. 6 that pushed the Wattersons over the hump:
"Square or bowed, take your pick,
Left or right - one does the trick.
Down where the big run takes the fill,
Or up where the smaller comes downhill?"
"It says 'square or bowed, take your pick' - that sounded like knots to us," Shaunna Watterson said. "So we were thinking Boy Scouts, sailors, fishermen : so we looked on the map and found Anglers Drive.
"'Left or right - one does the trick' - so we went left (on U.S. Highway 40 onto Anglers Drive)," she said.
Tread of Pioneers Museum board member Jayne Hill, a retired librarian, chooses the Yule log's hiding place and writes the clues. She's been doing it more than a decade. Her commitment to the Yule Log Hunt often means she has to trudge out to the log's hiding place at all hours of the night to brush off newly fallen snow.
Hill has said the log always is hidden in a place that's easily accessible, and the log itself is always at least partially visible.
As for the Wattersons, they'll spend their winnings like they always do.
"We'll go out to dinner after the holidays," Shaunna Watterson said.