geo-class_5-2019 2020_Leap_Day SLAGA_at_Ted_Drewes_2021 2022_NYD_Hike summer_picnic_2022 rich-Charolette-2014 Grilling_Meat 2022_Fall_Picnic_Group 2022_Fall_Picnic_2 SLAGA_Bellefontaine_CITO_Fall_2022 SLAGA_Christmas_Party_2022 Cachemas_2022_Final
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 Geocaching 101 class at Queeny Park

2020 Leap Day Flash Mob

SLAGA at Ted Drewes - 2021

2022 New Years Day Hike

Summer Pinic 2022

Rich & Charlotte - a couple of the founding members

Grilling Meat for the 2022 Fall Picnic

2022 Fall Picnic

Checking for new cache notifications

Bellefontaine CITO November 2022

2022 SLAGA Christmas Party

Cachemas 2022 Bonus Day

 Cachemas Pete cutout red 2

Santa Cachemas has been flying his sleigh over St. Louis since 2015, but at the end of December 2022, he parked the sleigh and set down the reins, as he stepped down from coordinating our holiday caching fun we all know as Cachemas in St. Louis. But Major134 (Peter Shaw) wasn't SLAGA's first Santa Cachemas, as that honor goes to the creator of the 'game,' 87preludea20a3 (Brandt Teske), for whom we are all grateful.

As a matter of fact, Pete was an FTF hound himself in those early days, that he says were very competitive. He was fortunate to make two FTFs and get the coveted ornaments that Brandt made back then. Pete recalls his first thrill of Cachemas: "In 2012, I was traveling down I-270 with Nick1081, when Nick’s phone pinged for a new cache. It was Day 7 and in Winter Park, Fenton. We were right at the I-44 exit so we immediately exited, raced over to Winter Park and were able to make the puzzle FTF, a co-FTF. I gave the ornament to Nick since he solved the puzzle while I was driving. It was being “in the right place at the right time” that allowed us to log the FTF as the parking lot filled with cachers just minutes behind us. Both of us were hooked on Cachemas."

Brandt made the decision late in 2014, that the solo task of running Cachemas was a bit too much, so the 'game' he created didn't take place that December. But Pete and The Mad Chef (Mike Maryann) decided to take the reins and continue it in 2015. Their decision was to bring in 12 cachers to hide caches, with L Frank (John ElFrank) offering to make the ornaments. This would make the hardest part of the series (finding locations, creating caches, submitting to reviewers and designing ornaments) much easier. So in December 2015, Cachemas in St. Louis was recreated, and with the help of a few key players, Pete continued the tradition through 2022.

Pete recalls numerous 'favorite' Cachemas stories and memories, and could ramble on for hours, but his first story, he called DAY 6 CACHEMAS - ILLINOIS DEEP FREEZE!

CACHEMAS 2016 6 story

     "Day Six dawns, well no, there was no sunrise when I met Trekto (Tom Whelan) to head to his Cachemas number 6. After battling ice and snow the previous day, we were skeptical the cache would be accessible, so at 2 a.m., we were on our way. Surprisingly, MODOT had done its thing, now what about ILLDOT. Yep, we were in business, made it to GZ parking and settled in for what we thought was a “long winters nap,” coffee and car heat blasting. Trekto moaned, “I must be crazy!” Right on time, 3 a.m., Reviewer Smith published this traditional (our areas, both sides of the river, have the best reviewers in the country). I posted my normal, “Game On” but added, “The roads are great.” No sooner, The Mad Chef responded, “I’m on it.” Apparently, he had been up since midnight. Tom and I looked at each other, “No way, he lives in Manchester, MO, too far! Moonchild lives up the road, the TeamState just a little farther, Unut74 and Grif can be here in 10 minutes.”

     At 3:29 a.m., we spy headlights quickly bouncing up the gravel road, a truck skids to a halt, out drops a man in a Santa hat, headlamp blazing, stumbles down the incline and disappears into the snow and woods. “Come on Tom!” Now snow caching is tough enough, but in the dark at 7°, it’s dern near impossible, except for Mad Chef, he heads to the obvious spot, nope, stumbles around, hears something in the woods coming from the wrong direction, hunkers down, brushes away snow and, “Voila,” at 3:36 a.m. has cache in hand. The noise we heard in the opposite direction must have been a deer or bear, but wait, at 3:38 a.m., Broster26 (Andrew Collins) emerges from the forest. When within 400 feet, he knew time was short, he pulled off the interstate, hopped the fence, busted through a creek getting wet (7° mind you) and straight lined it for the cache only to come up short by 90 seconds. You gotta love Cachemas.

     Broster26 came from St. Charles, The Mad Chef from Manchester. These two are mad dog, hard core cachers. And, just for grins, we were reminded that exactly one year ago to the day, Broster26 with TheLegoPharaoh (Jessica Wokovich), were solving the GZ puzzle for FTF when Mad Chef, who fell in a lake that day, busted on the scene, second, to help them solve it. As for this year, CONGRATULATIONS MAD CHEF, MIKE MARYAN!! “Ahhh, sweet revenge!”

     After cold photos and high fives, Broster26 sheepishly says, “Huh, could you give me a ride to my car, I can’t remember where I parked.” Well, he wasn’t dripping wet, he was dripping ice, “Sure Andrew, we don’t want you to freeze to death.” As we shuttled him, Kathy Dewitt calls, 355 a.m. and says Dave is scraping the ice of his car so you guys don’t have to stay out there too long. “Kathy, tell him to go back to sleep, we’re outta here!” You gotta love Cachers, especially at Cachemas!"

Pete has so many Cachemas stories to recount, including what he titled 'Experienced' Cacher, when LisaBe (Lisa Lane) took an 8 am 'lunch' break from work and after numerous faux pas eventually got her FTF on the Day 8, 2016 multi cache at 935 am. And another he called "Cachemas Competition at its Finest," when around 5 am on Day 7, 2015, the parking lot 'felt like an international airport,' as cars halted and dust and headlights exploded into the pitch blackness. The Mad Chef, Swaseeker, Sherpa, Broster 26 and TheLegoPharoah all bushwhacked their way to WPT 1 and after competitive teamwork, ascended to the final over slick mud, trees, stickers etc., where Broster26 and TheLegoPharoah found it and shared CO-FTF with The Mad Chef!  This was a great Mystery Cache by CO Eravau, but whatever the “stated” terrain level, it was 4.5 in the pitch dark!

                   CACHEMAS 2015 7      CACHEMAS 2015    CACHEMAS 2016 8 story 

               CACHEMAS 2017 5 grp and harry   CACHEMAS 2019 bonus     CACHEMAS 2021 7

When asked why Santa Cachemas was stepping down, Pete said that as administrator, it is very consuming! During his tenure, he'd start as early as August, then deal with the COs hides and location problems, as well as publication issues, reviewers needs and last minute snafus. Of course we all know that the month of December for Santa Cachemas has basically not been his own for years. But Pete genuinely believes that a new administrator and team will bring fresh ideas that will make this great Cachemas game even better. Pete is more than confident that Geokid12 (Robert Klemme) will do an excellent job as SLAGA's new Santa Cachemas, as he is smart, organized and energetic!

So cheers to Santa Pete as he 'retires,' with our many thanks for all the fond memories. But knavishly Pete adds, "a big plus is that I'll get to go for an FTF next year!"  So watch out Cachemas players, there's a new hound in the game for 2023!  

Cachemas 2022 Final