Steamboat Springs The 2010 Yule Log hunt is over, and the winner is a familiar face.
Sue Petrillo, who won the search in 2009 with her daughter, found the Yule Log at 4 p.m. Tuesday under the picnic deck at Dr. Rich Weiss Park. The Tread of Pioneers Museum received the call just before noon Wednesday.
“It’s an exciting day at our house,” Petrillo said.
She said the family has lived in Steamboat Springs for 30 years and has participated in the annual hunt for at least a decade. The museum releases a clue each weekday, and searchers decipher them to track down the painted hunk of wood.
Petrillo and her daughter, Angie Robinson, of Hayden, found the log last year at the Routt County Justice Center.
This year, they found the log after the fourth clue was released. But it was Yule Log clue No. 2 that led Petrillo to the park on the Yampa River:
1, 2, 3, and 4, that’s all there is.
There is no more.
If victory is high on your way
Then make a turn without delay.
Petrillo and Robinson discussed that clue, which the museum intended as a guide to U.S. Highway 40. Robinson suggested that it could indicate the four bridges across the Yampa.
Petrillo checked those out first.
“I looked under all the bridges, and I found a lot of interesting things, but not the log,” she said. “Then my daughter said maybe they mean footbridges.”
An examination of the footbridges led Petrillo to Dr. Rich Weiss Park, adjacent to the Rabbit Ears Motel. She didn’t find the log under a bridge, but she said she saw the picnic deck and thought, “That would be a good place for it.”
Petrillo said she was delighted to find the log, but that wasn’t the end of the challenge.
“I was by myself, so I had to haul that 50-pound thing up the hill myself,” she said.
Museum Executive Director Candice Bannister said searchers sometimes find the log by chance. Bannister, museum board member Jayne Hill and curator Katie Adams write 10 clues that are meant to lead people from one spot to the next, culminating with the hiding place.
“Our clues that would have been actually talking about that particular spot would have been much, much later,” Bannister said.
Petrillo and her family will receive $150 in Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association gift certificates, as well as a plaque denoting them as the 2010 Yule Log hunt winners and a copy of the newly released and revised edition of the “Historical Guide to Routt County.”
Petrillo said the family has decided to donate the prize money to a fund for Michele Dunklin, a Steamboat Springs woman who was injured in a car wreck Dec. 8 on U.S. Highway 40 near Hayden.
“I succeeded, and it makes you feel good, and then to give it away makes you feel good, too,” Petrillo said. “It’s all about helping each other out this time of year.”