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Retired nurse finds Winter Rec. Fest medallion for 3rd time … wife “wins” the $500

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He had a pretty good idea where the Winter Rec Fest Medallion was but Rick Gardner had some business to take care of first.

Tuesday night, the retired nurse had to take this kids to karate practice.

After dropping them off, though, the Gardner grabbed his flashlight and headed off to the dog park by Myrick, where he had a pretty good feeling
— since he already searched the other two dog parks in town.

“There’s a tree there that looks like it’s falling down,” he said Wednesday afternoon on WIZM. “It was actually stapled on the other side. You couldn’t see it from the inside. I actually went outside the dog park to see it hanging there.”

This is the third time Gardner has found the medallion. Back in 2010, it was a little more difficult, battling the elements.

“(It was) about 30 below outside and I had to go to work about 9 o’clock in the morning and I left about 5:30 to go search,” he said. “My wife thought I was crazy until I called her that I found it.”

She was, of course ecstatic, then, especially because when you’re not the retired one in the family, you get the cash.

“I got a hat, I believe it was, and she got the check,” Gardner joked. “So, yeah, she loved it.”

Gardner also found the medallion in ’13 or ’14 — he couldn’t remember exactly.

It took eight clues this time around.

“As you get closer to finding it, you can go back and start placing those clues into the area you’re looking for and that’s exactly what I did,” he said.

Gardner is an Aquinas, Western Tech and UW-La Crosse graduate. He said he actually has four degrees, but now is a stay-at-home dad for his teenage sons.

He found the 2010 medallion by the Houska boat landing under picnic table and the other year it was in Riverside Park.

Gardner — or his wife, probably — wins $500 for finding the medallion. The money was donated by State Bank in La Crosse, where he will be awarded the check at city hall at 1 p.m. Thursday.

We’re right in the midst of the 35th annual Winter Rec. Fest. This was the 30th year of the medallion hunt and the 20th year having the same person writing the clues, though the city has no intention on exposing who that is.

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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