Panhandle Public Broadcasting Service started the Big Idea Challenge April 2. It’s a five-week puzzle full of scattered clues all around Amarillo.
The Challenge, in its first year, is a way to raise funds for Panhandle PBS.
Each week, teams will receive a different puzzle to solve. According to Panhandle PBS, “Even the smartest puzzle solvers need clues that they collect by interacting with our sponsors throughout Amarillo.”
Teams consist of six to 10 people. Julie Mann, the membership coordinator, said 30 teams are enrolled in the Challenge and that she wants more.
Richard Walton, captain of the “I Found Carmen” team, grew up watching PBS.
“I felt compelled to join the cause and support PBS,” Walton said. His team consists of six members.
Mann said the puzzles are incredibly difficult to solve.
“You need a smart person to solve the puzzle, another person to gather the clues and the other eight people to mix the drinks,” Mann said.
During the first four weeks, teams will earn 100 points for completing a puzzle. Teams must have 1,400 points to participate in the final challenge, which will be in downtown Amarillo May 2.
Teams earn points by solving the weekly puzzles and by raising money through social media. Team members can reach out for help through Facebook, email and Twitter by asking friends and family members.
Mann said the PBS station in Richmond, Va., has done the challenge and that PBS producers thought it looked really cool and different because it’s a problem solving adventure.
The winning team on the final week will win the Big Brains award, which Mann said is a trophy, notorious and tacky.
Walton is in it to win it.
“I know it’s tough,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy.”
Mann said teams can receive clues online on the Big Idea Texas website and on Facebook. The online clues will lead to clues at multiple local businesses. Each week, there will be 16 clue locations.
Although there is no deadline, Mann said a team would need time to raise points in order to win.
She said she would love to see students participate.
It costs $25 a person to enter the Challenge.
Walton, who is affiliated with NCW Insurance, said it is worth paying for through his support.
Clint Green, captain of “The Lonely Only,” is interested because he helped develop the challenge and he wanted to participate.
Green is on the Committee for the Big Idea Challenge.
“I’ll be the captain,” Green said. “They can just jump in on our team.”
Green established a team because there are a couple of individuals who did not have a team. Anyone interested as an individual can join.
Mann said AC students also can participate by getting the word out and liking the PBS Facebook page.
Walton’s team plans to solve the problems as a group. He said it usually is easier with drinks involved.
“It’s a great cause,” Green said.
Check out http://www.bigideatexas.org/
for more information.