One thing that West Coast Challengers is noted for, is our penchant for creating fun and unique events, and our Ghost Run event certainly lives up to that reputation.

Because anyone can simply hop in the car and drive from point A to point B and call it a cruise, and a large majority of car clubs do just that, West Coast Challengers takes it up more than notch and sets the bar for creating a car club cruise events that are fun and unique, and not simply being a game of follow the leader (we can all do that at rush hour, blah).

This being our third installment of our very popular club event, The Ghost Run, we wanted to raise even our own bar and create a cruise event that was not only different but fun as well. We reached out to Challenger Owners of Las Vegas to meet at a location somewhere in between the two clubs, and Calico Ghost Town lies right in the middle. Both car clubs had previously visited Calico but based on its central location, we selected it for our destination.

Without excluding anyone, both car clubs tried to limit each club to 20 club members each so not to overwhelm the restaurant there. In total, some 40 Challengers rolled into Calico. A few days before the event, we learned that a local Corvette club, Red Line Corvettes also planned on visiting Calico on the same day, which turned Calico into a true muscle car meet.

What made is event fun and unique is that we decided to make it a murder mystery cruise. With a lot of club member input on a format and style of the kind of murder mystery we would do, we found none would really work unless we did a hybrid version of the many types of murder mysteries known. After toying around with the format for quite some time to ensure it would work on a cruise, our club president began to work on the script.

Once the murder mystery script was finalized, it would center around a murder happening at Calico Ghost Town (our destination) and all of the suspects identified for the club members. At each stop along the way to Calico, club members would be given more clues (color coded) to help their investigated efforts in solving the murder. If the clues were carefully read and the information deduced correctly, the murderer’s identity would become known, which would be no easy task. Club members would really have to put on their detective hats to solve this mystery. The murder mystery would be played as follows:


The Scenario:

In 1881, four prospectors leaving what is now Barstow headed toward a mountain range off in the distance that they named “Calico” for its calico colored peaks. What they found there was the largest silver lode in the history of the State of California. As news spread of their discovery, what was once a small mining camp grew into the town of Calico. By 1890, the town’s population grew to 3,500 residents and over 500 silver mines peppered the landscape. When silver prices plummeted, the town’s people began leaving. By the turn of the century, Calico was all but abandoned and became a ghost town.

One year ago, John Williamson bought the old ghost town. Six months later, he was found dead off the side of the road — leaving behind his widow Sarah Williamson to tend to the ghost town and its mine. With mounting debts and no idea how to run a mine, Sarah is desperate to sell the town and try to recoup their losses. The slow economy, however, has left Calico on the market way too long.

One winter day, six (6) people came to Calico to pay Sarah a visit — one of them is a cold-blooded killer!

The Suspects:

Suspect #1 — A real estate developer from Las Vegas arrived unannounced with plans to buy Calico and develop it into a tourist attraction. His boss has ordered him to obtain Calico and its lands at any cost.

Suspect #2 — After suffering a nervous breakdown, this psychologist and near-best-selling author moved to Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountains to relax — but then bought the land next to Calico and quickly moved again.

Suspect #3 — A drifter who wandered into Calico last year just as John and Sarah were moving in. Sarah took a liking to him and he has lived on the grounds ever since — working in the mine and tending to the town when needed — among other things.

Suspect #4 — Sarah’s estranged sister from San Francisco, she and her husband (Suspect #5) were traveling on vacation when she decided to drop by Calico for a visit — a surprise visit.

Suspect #5 — A real estate broker from San Francisco and husband to (Suspect #4), who is trying to salvage his job and his marriage while traveling on vacation.

Suspect #6 — Best friend to Sarah, this town historian and librarian has a flare for the unusual. She lives down the road with her ten cats and loves true crime — especially the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of John Williamson.

Which of these people has a secret worth killing for? Welcome to the Ghost Run III: Road Kill.

How to Play:

You have become involved in a murder mystery. You are a news reporter for a major newspaper and assigned to get the story before the competition. It’s your job to gather the evidence, disregard the lies, and discover what really happened so that your news organization will be the first to go live with the story; but beware, accusing the wrong person could very well get you and your newspaper sued for libel.

It is up to you to figure out who the murderer is by discovering the guilty secrets of some while trying to verify facts that may eliminate others and, hopefully, lead you to none other than the murderer.

The game will be played in rounds. At each stop along our cruise route, you will receive further clues.

From a confidential source, you have obtained a copy of the police file and will use it to your advantage to compare information to what you have already obtained and from information from various TV interviews and new conferences some of the suspects have held to declare their innocence. Some suspects may be giving misleading information to help keep their secrets hidden. It is up to you to sift through the misleading information in order to get to the truth.

“Secret Clues” discovered by your confidential sources will provide special information used to further your investigation.

Once we reach our final waypoint/stop (just before Calico), everyone will be given the opportunity to write down: (1) who they believe committed the murder; (2) how the murder was committed; and (3) why?

While we are on our final leg to Calico, each of the suspects will be brought down to police headquarters and interrogated. Face with the facts discovered against them, will any of them confess to being the murderer?

The club member whose answer best matches the truth, wins the game. While more than one person could come up with all three answers correctly, the one that best matches, in detail, will be chosen as the winner.

Good luck to everyone!

After the club members were briefed, each received their first set of clues, and we all then headed for our Challengers to hit the road, with the Challenger Owners of Las Vegas leaving Las Vegas simultaneously. The Ghost Run was under way once again! To say that we are a rolling parade that attracts a lot of attention while on the highway is a true understatement. Fellow motorists always enjoy taking pictures and videos of us while we caravan, and club members always enjoy the attention.

At each stop along the way, Club members were given more clues, such as newspaper articles and police interrogation reports, to bring them closer to solving the murder mystery. At our final stop in Barstow, CA (for California members) and Baker, CA (for the Las Vegas members), club members were given their final set of clues and a form for them to complete with their answers to the murder mystery of Who did it? How? and Why?

West Coast Challengers arrived at Calico Ghost Town first with Challenger Owners of Las Vegas arriving a short time after. While most of us were chatting and introducing ourselves to each other, others we taking photos and videos of all of the Challengers lined up. As one of the Las Vegas members was passing the line of Challengers, another thought it would be funny to set off his car alarm to surprise him which got a huge laugh. That one car alarm caused others to activate their car alarms and within seconds the long line of Challengers were singing, in a canyon yet, which made the sound reverberate. The moment was pretty funny.

Two West Coast Challengers club members tied in the murder mystery. It was decided between them whether to spit the winnings or flip a coin for an all or nothing. The close a flip of the coin and club member Daryl came out the winner. Congratulations!

We all enjoyed our time together at Calico and hope to meet up with the Challenger Owners of Las Vegas again in the near future.

More pictures from the cruise can be found in our club photo gallery.

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