FARGO - When Grant Kraft picked up his $500 prize after finding Thursday's coin in the annual Northern Plains Coin hunt, he told owner Mark Kingsley that he'd "see him tomorrow."
It was meant as a joke, but he would, in fact, be seeing Kingsley again.
Kraft had Forum staffers scrambling early Friday morning, July 20, when he called to say he'd found the second coin in the 2018 Northern Plains Coin Hunt.
It was quickly apparent the 24-year-old Fargo native had actually found the coin meant for Saturday. After he came to The Forum for a quick interview and photo, he hit the streets again. Within minutes, he'd found Friday's coin as well.
Kraft said he's nervous about public perception. When he didn't win in previous years, he admits developing conspiracy theories in his head. He said he'd wonder how someone could possibly find a coin based on the given clue.
Finding all three coins this year was part strategy, part luck, he said.
But he also thinks after years participating in the coin hunt, including a win with his brother in 2015, that he's caught onto The Forum's approach to the hunt.
"I know it's probably going to be magnetized to something. It's probably going to be in a very, very public area. Often I would find myself going off the beaten path and going astray, checking every nook and cranny, but it's pretty straightforward. This year my biggest philosophy was don't overthink it," he said.
How'd he do it?
Thursday’s search began at 2:30 a.m. He found the coin about two hours later at the (Ole Tangen) Triangle Park based on the clue “Amazing mosaic tiles may make you smile.”
Friday morning’s clue, “It’s a great day for a stroll along Broadway,” made Kraft think of a stroll through the park. He started at the train car near the Fargo Park District office on Main Avenue, a place he checks every year. From there, he headed south down Broadway towards Island Park, checking every metallic surface that could hold the magnetic clue along the way. That’s where he found the coin meant for Saturday’s hunt hidden in a map.
Finding that coin was obviously just luck, Kraft said.
He was getting his photo taken by Forum photographer Dave Samson when he saw Friday’s second clue, “Enjoy the lovely strain of an incoming train,” on Twitter.
“Dave couldn’t have taken the picture fast enough,” Kraft said. “He was having trouble with the camera, and I was thinking ‘Come on. You are killing me.’”
Kraft said The Forum typically does not hide coins close to each other, so he immediately headed toward the railroad tracks on north Broadway. Once he saw a sign with a graphic heart near Great Northern Bicycle, something clicked in his head.
“Lovely and train were in it, so I figured I better check the area under the sign and there it was,” he said.
Asked what he’ll do with the $1,500, Kraft said he’ll use it for a trip to Seattle planned over Christmas break with his dad. The avid Seattle Seahawks fan said he planned to see two games while there.
“I’ve been thinking of upgrading to get better seats, so maybe I’ll do that now,” he said.