Horse Race Pays Off for Charity

The site of the buried treasure remains a mystery, but a golden horse containing a key to a $500,000 prize has finally been claimed by an employee of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America. In 1984, a tale called "Treasure: In Search of Golden Horse" was released in book, videotape and laser disc form, promising the prize to anyone who could decipher the clues in the story. Under the rules, the bonanza went to the charity when no one found it by a May 26 deadline. Thomas Conlon, president of D. L. Blair sales promotions company, dismayed many people when he announced in June that the solution to the puzzle would remain secret. He, the two story authors and the Big Brothers employee are the only ones who know the secret, and the charity employee requested anonymity to prevent harassment from anyone hoping to get it, well, from the horse's mouth. Author Sheldon Renan met him and Conlon at the treasure site, where they dug up a box containing the horse in less than half an hour. Inside the horse was a key to a safe deposit box holding the rights to an annuity that will total half a million dollars over 20 years. The trio also sipped from a bottle of Champagne buried with the horse. David Davison, a Big Brothers official, said the charity would sell the horse, which contains a kilogram of pure gold and cost about $25,000 to make.

--The Montana Lottery could use a little luck. For a year and a half, no one has hit the big jackpot in its weekly Big Spin game, and ticket sales fell 50% amid the losing streak. "Unfortunately, the wheel of fortune has run against the lottery," game director Chuck Brooke said. The last big winner was Keith Dunn of Billings, who got $950,000 on Feb. 17, 1988. More than 200 contestants have played without hitting the big bucks since then. The wheel long ago was altered to increase prizes, with two jackpot slots now worth $1 million each. But for now, the big prize money sits in a state account, drawing no interest from banks and not much from anyone else.

--United Airlines Capt. Alfred C. Haynes, who crash-landed Flight 232 last month in Sioux City, Iowa, after it lost hydraulic power, was honored for his work with the Little League in a ceremony at Mickey Mantle's New York restaurant. One of four honorees, Haynes said he became an umpire when his sons played ball "because nobody else would do it." He stayed with the volunteer work and had umpired a game in Seattle the weekend before the Sioux City disaster, which claimed 112 lives. Survivors numbered 184. Haynes plans to return to flying in October, and to his spot behind the plate next spring.

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