Bronc Reser was a little worried.
He realized about two minutes after he got out of a golf cart that his phone was missing. Unfortunately, he didn’t know the good samaritan who offered him a ride from the practice arena to his campsite so he had no idea where the golf cart’s home base was located.
“I walked everywhere I’d been just to see if I’d dropped it and then I tried Snapchat location and ‘Find my iPhone’ but it (the phone) didn’t have any service,” Reser said.
Next, he checked in at all of the lost and found centers at the Cam-plex looking for a black iPhone — a hot ticket item at the center this week.
“I kept checking in and asking about a black iPhone and there’d be three or four,” he said chuckling. But none of them were his.
“We were praying to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things,” said his mom, Melanie. Because on the phone, Reser had typed up his opening prayer for the next morning’s rodeo.
Although the phone didn’t reappear before he had to say his prayer, a sort of miracle did happen soon after. About 30 hours later, Reser tried the ‘Find my iPhone’ method one more time and this time there was a signal, right in the middle of about 150 parked golf carts.
He and two others weaved in and out of the carts, listening for the ping until they found his phone in the very same golf cart he’d ridden in just more than a day before.
“I was really excited when I found it,” he said. “But I lose it all the time.”
He said one of his favorite parts about the whole experience was meeting about 100 people over the course of 30 hours who tried to help him find his phone.
The Resers’ story is one of many lost and found stories that occurred since last week when the national rodeo began. Since then the thousands of visiting people have lost and then found many items and they all have a story along with them.
As of Wednesday evening, 20 iPhones, three dogs, a child, a blank check and multiple sunglasses and hats went missing, but many have been returned to their owners as well.
Getting it done
“Volvo keys came in,” Kathy Kintz said with excitement Tuesday afternoon. Kintz is in charge of the information center that includes lost and found at Spirit Hall in the Wyoming Center.
Ryan Jones (Volvo keys man) of Effingham, Illinois, had lost the keys to his Volvo semi on Sunday night.
“We were up at the trade show,” Jones said. “I pulled the golf cart keys out of my pocket and the semi keys came out at the same time.”
He stopped into the information center to let them know what happened and Tuesday morning the keys were dropped off and Jones answered an anticipated call.
“Thank goodness someone turned them back in,” he said. “I don’t know who did but I’m grateful.”
But some items have yet to be claimed.
The lost and found log included bronc rigging, a bridle, two cases of ropes and a host of stadium seats that are still waiting to find their home. And that’s just to name a few.
“He’ll be back,” Kintz said assuredly on Tuesday of whoever happened to lose the bronc rigging. “Or he’s going to be in a sore spot when he has to yippie-kai-yay it.”
And she was correct.
Wednesday morning, a mother came in to ask about some missing gear, Kintz said. Her son was riding in the performance that night and had just realized it was missing, more than three days later.
Yet another case solved just in time.
Throughout her time working at the finals, Kintz has collected many stories over the years.
“It’s always so much fun and something going on,” she said. She works from 7 am to 11 pm throughout the time at the rodeo and keeps everyone on track, leading the troops that help answer all of the visitors’ questions and worries.
She’s also noticed an improvement in using more technology over the years to speed up the reunion between man and phone.
“We’ve gotten smarter,” Kintz said. “Now I just say, ‘Hey Siri, call Mom’ and ask whoever answers if they’re missing a phone in the family. The phone will still call even if it’s locked.”
The new-and-improved method hardly ever fails. Of the 20 phones found up until Wednesday evening, 19 of them had made it safely home.
Unfortunately for three sets of car keys, no such method has yet been found.