Inside the Capitol

Monday, July 25, 2011

7-27 Billy the Kid manhunt clues sometimes elusive

Syndicated Columnist
SANTA FE -- The Billy the Kid manhunt is on, Go to any county in the state to find some of Billy's loot. At many of these locations, clues to Billy's whereabouts also can be obtained.
The state Tourism Department's summer travel promotion is a state-of-the-art project. It helps to be technologically literate. Fortunately our children and grandchildren are.
While Jeanette is busy rehabilitating from hip and femur surgery, the family is headed to Santa Fe to be with Mom. And on the way, they are stopping at all the places to find loot and clues.
The posse coming in from the north encountered some kinks in the system while amassing their loot. The game works best if you have a smart phone on which you have downloaded the Billy the Kid app.
But in north central New Mexico our daughter's posse members discovered their smart phone didn't have reception so they didn't know how to get to the loot.
When they got to Santa Fe, they knew Hyde Park, just above town, would have reception. But the area was closed because of fire danger. So they couldn't collect their loot there either.
Leaving Santa Fe, they had better luck. At the Coronado State Monument, they discovered that when their smart phone and GPS matched the GPS of the contest, a message came on their smart phone display screen saying, "Congratulations. Push button and the loot will be credited to your account.."
It was that easy to earn 25 coins, which can be redeemed at the contest's online general store. But you need to be a little lucky to drive or walk past the contest location because there are no signs.
They were similarly successful at Blue Lake, west of Grants. The loot there was 75 coins. The hitch was that they had to pay a $5 entry fee to get to the GPS location.
There were no special provisions for posses engaged in the manhunt, possibly because people at the entry gate had no idea what Catch the Kid meant.
At Gallup, the last stop before leaving the state, the map indicated more loot and a clue to finding The Kid. But the icon on the map disappeared before they arrived at the location. Does that mean the loot had been exhausted or that only the first person there got the clue? The rules aren't clear.
Another posse of Millers will be headed into New Mexico from the south tomorrow, looking for clues and loot. The question is whether phone reception is as bad in the rest of the state as it is in rural Northern New Mexico.
And how many state parks, monuments and museums will be open? Will staff be aware of the program? And is paying the entry fee part of the deal to get loot and a clue? Since the idea of the contest is to promote tourism, maybe paying the fee is part of the game.
The new Tourism Secretary Monique Jacobson is to be commended for a creative idea and an attention grabbing subject. The aforementioned kinks need to be worked out and the contest needs to be explained better.
It's a generational thing. Our kids picked up on the idea immediately. My friends still are scratching their heads even after I explain it to them.
They are interested in New Mexico history and have time to devote to traveling the state the next two months of summertime. But they still need a little more confidence to get them out there.
The younger generation's kids will be starting to school in a few weeks and the parents' vacation time may already have been used. So something needs to be done to induce them to work the contest into their schedules.
It would have been helpful to get this started a few months earlier. Understandably this is a new administration and the logistics of setting this all up took a while.
The $10,000 prize for being first to execute an arrest warrant on Billy is a big inducement. It even seems a little extravagant -- but not when compared to the published $640,000 price tag for the entire promotion.
WED, 7=27-11

JAY MILLER, 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, NM 87505
(ph) 982-2723, (fax) 984-0982, (e-mail)

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