The cache page for the first ever Event Cache starts with the modest quote, “Come have a beer and meet the people whose names you’ve been seeing in the log books. Austin seems to have enough people interested in geocaching to pull this off.” The date was March 24, 2001. The name of the event was “Austin Geocachers Happy Hour (GC389).”
As it is defined today, an Event Cache is where local geocachers and geocaching organizations meet and discuss geocaching.
Rich’s instructions for finding the group of geocachers at the coordinates were simple (and still work at Event Caches today): “Look for GPS units on the tables or someone wearing one of the Geocaching.com t-shirts.”
Rich recently spoke to Geocaching.com about that first event one decade ago. He says: “In early 2001, interest in geocaching was really taking off. Lots of creative new cache types were being hidden. Austin went from one cache on January 1st to a couple dozen by early March, including micros, multis, letterbox and themed caches. As Pumpkin Princess and I sought out each new cache listed we saw a similar set of names showing up in the logbooks and started to get curious about what these other people were like. So I posted the coordinates to my favorite pub, offered the enticement of a free beer to the first finder, and hoped that someone would show.”
More than a dozen people logged a smiley for the event. Rich knows why: “We’re social, story-telling animals. We love to tell tales of the hunt and feel a sense of community.” And there’s one more reason he says people love Event Caches: “Swag, of course.”
As far as being the first to host a geocaching event Rich says, “That I was the one to host the first event is more a matter of luck than anything else. Using coordinates and posting the event as a cache was the obvious approach for a geo-get-together. I happened to be in the right place and find out about geocaching at the right time. Just like being FTF a new cache – if I hadn’t done it someone else certainly would have.”
It wasn’t long before Event Caches wove themselves into geocaching culture. Rich says it all happened fast: “…that event has merged somewhat in my memory with the other events hosted and attended shortly after by TresOkies, 3Lanes, AustinExplorer & Coppertone, RoxBob & Martha, DamnYankee, TxHiPowr, GoHorns, and others.”
Rich says Event Caches fill a need in the geocaching community, by building community: “I can’t speak for what others get out of them, but I like that I get a chance to meet people who I know up front share a common interest. I also like getting to see the variety of interesting people drawn to geocaching.”
Rich and Rachel are still active geocachers. They’re attending the Event Cache, ‘10th Anniversary of the First Ever Event‘ in Austin, Texas this weekend. More than a hundred geocachers are expected to attend the event.
Join in the fun of swapping geocaching stories and meeting your fellow geocachers face-to-face. Find an event near you, explore our Geocaching Event Calendar.