Carey Toth (left) and Sarah Jacob, of winning scavenger hunt team Paper Chasers, stand with Moneyman and his body guards on July 31, 2021.

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – When Moneyman Scavenger Hunt winner Sarah Jacob found the suit-clad philanthropist at Nulton Aviation holding $10,000 in prize money on Saturday, she couldn’t believe her eyes.

“I wasn’t sure if we won until we actually opened the case,” she said.

Jacob played the game with her friend Carey Toth last year and didn’t make it to the finals, but had so much fun they decided to sign up again.

They were two of hundreds of participants making up 180 teams that took on the challenge this time around.

The groups had to identify around 250 local landmarks and businesses, such as the safe exchange zone downtown and a caboose near the train station, by solving clues to gain points and advance to the finals, where the actual AmeriServ-sponsored hunt for the mysterious Moneyman began.

“There’s no way to get to all of them, so you have to have a strategy of what you were going to do,” Jacob said.

However, she and Toth aren’t revealing their game plan.

After arriving at the desired location, players, some of whom were in costumes, had to snap photos of themselves there as proof and post those images to social media.

After the round was finished, the point totals were added up, and teams who advanced were provided notice.

Jacob said she and Toth were at The Fifth on Scalp Avenue because they hadn’t eaten all day and needed sustenance.

That’s where they found out they had come in second and were going into the finals.

“I was in shock,” Jacob said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Overall, Jacob said, the scavenger hunt is “very challenging” but also a lot of fun.

She and her partner are going to split the $10,000 down the middle.

Jacob is using her half for a trip, although she doesn’t know to where, and Toth plans to use the money for home improvements.

Moneyman said determining the finalists was difficult because there were so many high scores.

“Top teams went hard, while others enjoyed the adventure at their own pace,” he added.

From a community impact standpoint, Amy Bradley, Cambria Regional Chamber president, was pleased with the event.

“I think anytime we can get 400 people to go out and explore the region, it is a great thing,” she said. “There were definitely participants who said they were excited to see something new or that they learned something that they did not know about Cambria County or the city of Johnstown. We applaud Moneyman and his team for this innovative, fun way to get people out and about. We love the buzz and positive energy this event generates.”

Even though the hunt is over, a costume contest is still going on.

To vote for the best-dressed team, visit Moneyman on Facebook.

As for what’s next, the anonymous benefactor said that’s a secret.

Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5054. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.

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