It’s that time of year for BYU football fans to gear up for BYU50, a time-based scavenger hunt set across the nation.
Fans across the country have competed against each other to find a BYU football helmet hidden somewhere in their city for the past five years. BYU’s Athletic Department and volunteers post helmet location and times on BYU’s social media the day of the drop, and it’s up to BYU fans to figure out where the location is and arrive first to claim their prize.
The first BYU drop started with 25 boxes full of cool BYU gear such as BYU t-shirts, flags and socks being dropped in multiple cities throughout Utah. Sometimes the boxes even contained game or season tickets to BYU football games. Now, BYU fans participate in this nationwide competition, according to BYU Director of Marketing and Promotions David Almodova. Multiple drops can take place in a state on their allotted drop date.
“It was such a popular thing we did after our first year that we started getting messages from our fans all over the country asking us to do a drop in their state because of the huge BYU fan population,” Almodova said. “We took the next year to plan it out, and it has been a huge success ever since.”
In years past, fans have sustained injuries, paddled across lakes to reach the helmet and even followed alumni members in charge of the drop. BYU alumni member Seth Killingbeck had a first-hand experience with this when he and his wife were in charge of the BYU50 drop in Tennessee.
“A couple of times I’ve noticed BYU fans stalking my house or office to follow me to the drop zone. In 2014, a friend of mine guessed that I might be the one hiding the BYU50 box, and I noticed his truck driving up and down my street waiting for me to leave the house,” Killingbeck said.
The average time for fans to get to the helmet is between three and seven minutes, which leaves some fans disappointed with the game’s brevity. With this feedback, the BYU Marketing and Promotions Office decided to switch it up this year.
“We want to give more people the possibility to win this year,” Almodova said.
BYU fans will now have 20–30 minutes to get to the location of the drop and will be required to post a photo with the drop location flag in the background on their personal social media accounts using the hashtag BYU50. Winners for that city will be randomly selected that night via BYU’s social media.
“This will give more people an opportunity to win and not just the first person,” Almodova said.
The BYU50 event allows BYU to gain more exposure across the nation. According to BYU alum and BYU50 dropper for Houston, Texas, Elora Draper, the drop is a great way for non-BYU fans to learn about the school and its team.
“There were so many people wearing BYU gear and swag in one place, which I think is really cool,” Draper said. “There are people who have never heard of BYU who have stopped us and asked ‘Who are the Cougars?’ so BYU50 just gives the school extra exposure and gets people who wouldn’t normally hear about BYU talking about us.”
The first drop will take place on July 13 in Alabama and will finish on September 1 in Arizona. BYU50 will be making its stop in Utah on Saturday, August 4.
Keep an eye out on BYU’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat accounts to find your city’s drop location. If worse comes to worst, just look for the large group of fans wearing BYU gear, and you might find the right place.