River quest

Stacey Perez

photo/ D. Brian Burghart

Who knew there was a business based downtown where participants would be given clues and puzzles to find the “X marks the spot” finish line? Not us, certainly. Stacey Perez has been operating just such a business—X-marks the Spot Adventure Quests—since last summer. More information can be had by calling 848-4501 or on the web at http://x-marksthespot.net.

What made you come up with this idea?

I had done it a long time ago, but I was doing a different quest for each individual that signed up for it, and it was just so time-consuming and so much that I quit the business and stopped for a while. Then my sister and I were doing something similar to what I’m doing down in Santa Monica last year. We sat up until 2 o’clock in the morning, laughing, and just being sisters together about how I should open my business back up and go for it. I got back up to Reno and told my husband and my 10-year-old son my idea, and they encouraged me, “Lets go for it.” So I started back up, and we’ve been running in downtown Reno, and now we’re expanding to Sparks.

Why don’t you tell me what a typical adventure could be.

That’s the interesting thing about it. It is whatever the team makes it out to be. I’ve had teams take shots at every bar that they walked by. I’ve had teams that [were] a family, and they’ve had kids come in with candy. The teams also decide whether they want to do it leisurely or if they’re going to set the record and try to be the team that finishes the quest and all the puzzles in the least amount of time. So it’s pretty much whatever they want to make out of it.

Tell me a little bit more. Say they want to do shots at every bar.

It is the same quest. Every team gets the same clues in the same order and all of that. And you get a group, and it’s two people or more, depending on how many you want on your team. And then you sign up for the quest, then on Saturdays and Sundays, I will email the starting line clue. Then I hand them their first clue, and off they go in solving the first clue. …

I assume you’re busier in the summer, is that right?

Well, we just started up again last July, and I did pretty good, and I did pretty good in the winter because it’s been such a mild winter. But my hard part is getting the word out that the service is here. A little tiny ad in the newspaper, I don’t have the room to explain the whole thing. TV and radio are just so expensive, that my biggest hurdle is getting the word out that I’m going. I did a Groupon and a Living Social and a Deal Chicken last summer, and I got quite a few people off of that. Now I’ve got a database of people who loved it and want to do more. So when Sparks opens, I’m going to email all them, and we’re doing another Deal Chicken, too. And then I called all the newspapers and said, “Hey!”

How much does it typically cost?

We’re running a spring special; it’s $20 for an adult, $10 per kid. I’ve had teams take four hours to complete it. I’ve had one team that decided they wanted to be the record holder finish in 2 hours and 4 minutes.

How cool. Have you had any especially crazy adventures?

I want a Red Hat Ladies Society, and I’d also love to see a stroller brigade with moms and babies and strollers get out and compete in a quest. I’ve just had families or friends, I haven’t had any really weird Santa Pub Crawl-type things.

What else should my readers know about you and your business?

Well, they have to know about the website, for sure. [See intro, above.] That has information on how to register for the Quest. It’s all done online. They go in and set up the form, and it emails me, and I get them signed up on a day that I’m running a quest. Also if they look at the calendar on the website, they can see days are blocked off because I already have a commitment for the weekend.