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Find Hidden Balls, Win Polo Prizes

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The scavenger hunt is the brainchild of Katie Taylor, development and public relations manager for HRF. She was "just power-walking" one day, she says, and trying to think of a way to link polo with preservation, horses with houses. The idea came to her: Hide the balls in and around public properties the foundation had a hand in restoring, to bring attention to the reason why HRF needs money to continue its endeavors.

"The hunt's not going to be tough," Taylor says. "I want people to know exactly where they're hidden." The entire list of properties is posted on www. historicrichmond.com. It includes such places as the Byrd Park Pump House, the Kanawha Canal, the National Theatre on Broad Street, Old City Hall, the Superior Warehouse in Church Hill and HRF's headquarters in Monroe Ward.

Taylor says she's not afraid of a ball-hunting frenzy in these historic places. "I'd love to get people rushing to see these awesome buildings we restored," she says. The actual prizes aren't hidden on the grounds, Taylor warns, so there's no danger of a watch or necklace getting trampled.

We don't recommend fighting for the ball. Dr. Tim Nice, chairman of the United States Polo Association safety committee, says that in 20 years of playing polo, he has seen six players "who have lost their eye by being hit by a polo ball. A season does not pass in which we do not see a bloody nose, a lacerated eyebrow, displaced teeth, dirt in the eye, a facial laceration or far worse [injury] from a speeding ball or a flying mallet."

The numbered ball must be brought to the foundation to claim the prize. Taylor and two friends will be hiding the balls prior to the hunt, which begins May 15 at noon. —

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