Excalibur Quest Over, Treasure Found in Windy City

The hunt for $5,000 ended in Chicago when two local cigar smokers unearthed the Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur cigar box containing a dummy check. Dubbed Excalibur Quest, the contest was hosted by General Cigar.

"Every Friday afternoon for the past six weeks, participating tobacconists in Chicago received a fax containing clues as to where the box of Excalibur cigars was hidden," said Whit Bebee, director of marketing for Excalibur Cigars. "The Quest was an instant success, with many retailers hosting 'clue reveal parties.'" Other smoke shops simply posted clues each week.

The search was over when Robert Fuhrman and William Bedsole showed up simultaneously at The Second City comedy theater in the heart of Old Town, ready to solve the Excalibur Quest and claim the prize, which was divided between them.

Fuhrman, a 37-year-old Brookfield, Illinois, resident, first heard about the contest from a friend who read about it in the Chicago Tribune. From that point on, the two jointly embarked on the journey.

"At the fourth week, I was convinced we'd solved the quest," said Fuhrman. "We thought the box of Excalibur cigars was hidden at the Hotel Intercontinental. Earlier in the contest, we were convinced it was going to be on the South Side because there are a lot of medieval references there, too." He plans on nobly splitting the winnings with his friend, before enjoying the rest of his money in Las Vegas.

Bedsole, a 25-year-old Motorola employee, said he will use his winnings to purchase a new TV.

General Cigar introduced the mid-priced Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur to the market in the 1970s. Its popularity sparked additions to the line such as the 1066 and, most recently, the Royal Sterling series.

Chicago, along with the state of Illinois, continues to be a smoke-friendly city.