The Lone Star Roundup

The TXGA puts on two major events every year, the best known of which is the Texas Challenge, Geocaching’s first (and now only unbroken) Mega Event. The second, colloquially referred to as Roundup, only reaches Event status but is a lower-key alternative for those who don’t want the competitive energy of the Challenge. Just like Challenge, Roundup moves around the state from year to year. Last year, it was hosted by the North Region in Mineral Wells. This year it was held by the South Region in Bandera. Unfortunately, because of circumstances beyond my control, I wouldn’t be able to spend the night as I did last time. I only had one day to do the thing. And it was quite a day!

It began with an early morning drive down with Carrot Killer. Since we are both on the TXGA board (I as Central Representative, he as Vice President), we both felt a certain obligation to attend. We made exceptional time. There usually aren’t many people out on the road before dawn on Saturday mornings. We arrived in time for breakfast tacos and cold winds. Normally the event is held a little earlier in the year, but it was pushed back a few weeks so it wouldn’t conflict with GeoCoinFest in San Antonio. That meant that this year’s Roundup was held about twenty-four hours after a major cold front hit the state. Forty-eight hours before, the high temperatures were in the nineties. We ate breakfast tacos in the forties, with highs in the fifties forecast for the day. Many of us ended up starting the day with some exercise. There was a small amount of competition in the form of a pancake-flipping race!

The rules were simple: two people would race identical courses, each holding a skillet with a pancake in it. As long as you were flipping the pancake, you were good. If you ran without flipping, you were out! The three fastest times in each division (men’s, women’s, kids’) would win a prize. There were thrills! There were spills! There was laughing and cheering! Your humble narrator even tried his hand at the flipping game! I did not win, but I was told by some that I definitely won “most graceful.” After the race and the awards ceremony, the main event began.

There are two games that are played every year at Roundup: GeoPoker and “Closest to the Pin.” For GeoPoker, there are five ammo cans hidden at five different locations. Each can contains a bunch of envelopes and each envelope contains a standard playing card. Every time a player finds a can, they get to take one envelope. When the player has found all five cans, they return to the Event with their envelopes, which are opened to reveal their poker hand. The person with the best poker hand wins! “Closest to the Pin” is a little more on the nose. Using state-of-the-art positioning equipment, a thin stake is hammered into the ground at a set of coordinates. The coordinates and a small flag are given to each player, who must then use their own device and judgment to place their flag closest to the invisible pin. The closest flag wins! It’s all fun and laid-back, not requiring a rushing pace or any race against the clock.

Of course, it’s not all just fun and games. We want to not only provide activities for the caching community but also give back to the host communities. We always have a CITO on the final day (that I sadly could not attend this year) to put our labor to work for them. In this case, we also made a donation to our event location, the Boys and Girls Club of Bandera County. There was a small surprise presentation by our South Representative, Thewildroseoftexas, and Carrot Killer. May I add that any event is made better by a novelty check!

The Carrot and I grabbed some lunch near the courthouse, resulting in an ultra-rare photo of me at a courthouse. Don’t worry, this is not something I’m looking to replicate. I want to draw people in, not drive them off with my ugly mug! And of course …

… we cached. We hit a few locations around town and picked up some Adventure Labs. A whole bunch had dropped the night before, so everyone was racing around grabbing them along with other hides. We hit a local cemetery and a few historical places. We found a fake rock in a small field of rocks thanks to a telephonic assist from Razorbackgirl, who had just been there. I have to admit that one cache, pictured farthest right, managed to earn one of my stingily hoarded favorite points based on sheer cuteness.

And in the end, as the day began to get long, we all got together for dinner. Well, some of us, anyway. Carrot and I had to leave pretty early, so we made our appearances, said hellos and goodbyes, and got back on the road to Austin and Georgetown.

My only regret is that I could not attend the Sunday morning CITO. Not only would it have been a good, almost righteous, way to end the weekend, but I would have been able to make an announcement. Next year, the Central Region will be hosting Roundup, so I myself am going to be planning and preparing the festivities! If you’re not doing anything on the weekend of October 14, 2023, come join me and about 150 of my caching buddies at McKinney Falls State Park in the City of the Violet Crown!

2 thoughts on “The Lone Star Roundup

  1. Looks like it has been a great event with cool people including yourself 😉 ! Thank you for sharing!

    Greetings from Austria, P 😎 [ LosTresViajeros ]


    DiscoverUS: PCNTE7 & GLNYVW


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