HUNTINGTON — For too many years, the Messingers have been just inches away from finding the miniature Marshall University football helmet hidden each summer as part of The Herald-Dispatch’s Hunt for the Herd contest.
“Last year my dad was staring right at the tree it was in and didn’t see it,” said Cash Messinger, who is on the verge of his 10th birthday.
However, this year was different for the Messingers, who found the helmet Saturday afternoon hidden inside the Little Free Library at Harvey-town Park in Huntington.
Shane and Danielle Messinger said they had been out every day with their three boys, AJ, 15, Cash and Saybin, 4, searching for the helmet.
Danielle Messinger estimated they spent roughly two hours each day traveling to different locations in the area in search of the prize.
Based on the clue, Danielle Messinger said they were under the impression the helmet would be at a park.
“We’ve been all over,” she said.
On Saturday morning, Danielle Messinger said they decided to try their luck at Harveytown Park, and much to their surprise, they did not come away empty-handed.
AJ Messinger said finding the helmet felt like Christmas morning.
“It was almost like the best day of the year,” he said.
Shane Messinger said this year was close to being another near miss, but just like Santa on Christmas, they checked the area twice.
″(Danielle) opened the door to the (library) and didn’t find anything, but then she opened it again and stuck her whole head in there and that’s how she found it,” he said.
Danielle Messinger said the helmet was in the roof of the library and completely out of sight to unsuspecting visitors.
“I started jumping up and down and dancing,” Danielle Messinger said. “Cash said I looked like a little girl in a candy shop.”
She added that she also received some strange looks from nearby guests who were attending a wedding who had no clue as to the cause of her excitement.
As the winners of the Hunt for the Herd giveaway, the Messingers will receive season chairback tickets to the Marshall University home football games, as well as $1,000 in cash, all sponsored by The Herald-Dispatch and JondaKnows, a boutique financial services firm located at 338 5th Ave. in Huntington.
While Danielle Messinger said her family could not be happier to receive prizes, she said the real prize is getting to spend time with her family.
“We had a good time,” she said. “It’s something that we do as a family and enjoy.”
To celebrate their accomplishment, Shane Messinger said the family treated themselves to lunch at Cam’s Ham.
A rundown of the clues that led the Messingers to the helmet will be printed in an upcoming edition of The Herald-Dispatch.