YUMA, Ariz. — All seven glass diamonds hidden around the Yuma area for the Great Yuma County Diamond Hunt have been claimed by intrepid hunters.
The baseball-size glass diamonds, inscribed with the Yuma County-Arizona Centennial logo, were hidden at seven historically significant locations that each played an important role in the development of Yuma's history.
"We wanted to have people go out and experience those areas so that maybe they will better appreciate them," said Kevin Tunell, Yuma County public relations director.
The hunt was coordinated through a partnership between Yuma County and the Yuma Sun as part of the festivities leading up to the Yuma County Centennial Celebration this weekend.
To find the exact location of a hidden diamond, hunters had to match up the latitude released on Twitter by the Yuma Sun and the longitude released on the county's Twitter account. One location was released per day over the course of one week, and the first hunter to find each diamond got to keep it.
The diamonds were found by Chris and Kym Miller, Isaac Russell, Ron Spicer, Ben Russell, "Cowboy Mike" Kinsman, Craig Colvin and Cody Beeson.
The Millers found the first diamond during the kickoff day at the Yuma Territorial Prison. It took only a few minutes to find the diamond, which was buried in an ammunition box.
"We were all looking for something, but we didn't know exactly what to look for," Kym Miller said. "A couple of people had walked by it and I actually spotted it out of the corner of my eye."
The next day, a diamond hidden at the Plank Road in the Imperial Sand Dunes was found by Isaac Russell and Beeson, who had teamed up together. They began their search at 3:30 a.m. and were "on the road before the coordinates even came out," Russell said.
"We got the coordinates as we pulled off at Gray's Well and drove right to them — literally. We got out and looked all over the place for about 15 minutes and then came back and it was right next to the truck."
The next diamond, hidden at the confluence of the Gila and Colorado rivers, was discovered by Spicer, who had arrived there before dawn.
"Finally the coordinates came in and I saw it on my screen. So I started walking, and there it was laying right there. This is really the neatest thing I have ever done."
Hidden along the Colorado River near the Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge, the next diamond was discovered by Ben Russell, Isaac's brother. Russell had to wade through the cool waters of the river to find the diamond.
The diamond hidden at Telegraph Pass was discovered by Kinsman, who began climbing the trail well before the sun came up.
"I got there so early and the moon was so bright, I didn't even use my light very much getting up there. Up at the top I could see everybody else coming up. There were a lot of people."
That morning he had read the Yuma Sun and "just had a feeling" that drove him to the top of Telegraph Pass. He was on top of the mountain for about two hours and watched the sun come up before he found the diamond.
"It was fun. I just had a blast doing this."
Colvin found the next diamond at the Colorado River Siphon. "It was in the planter area with a stick poking up and it was easy to find. It was a great and wonderful surprise."
The final diamond, hidden in the Dateland area, was found by Beeson and Isaac Russell.
"We were dead last," Beeson said, explaining they were on the opposite side of the county when the coordinates were tweeted. "We hit the Dateland exit and there were, like, eight cars. It got so exciting right there. That was the 'Cannonball Run' moment. We got out there and everyone was running around everywhere."
He found the diamond a short time later. "I saw the little logo in a bush and yelled 'Yahtzee!'"
Everyone who found a diamond was invited to the Yuma County Centennial Celebration, and a picture of them holding their diamonds will be buried in a time capsule that won't see the light of day again until 2112.
Each person with a diamond has special plans for their treasured find. Most plan to pass the diamond on from one generation to the next as a family heirloom until the time capsule is reopened.
"Our wish is that in 2112, when they open the time capsule, one of these diamonds will show up and somebody will have stories about how it has been passed down through the family," Tunell said.
Information from: The Sun, http://www.yumasun.com