City Councilman Carl Erikson is going to get a very public pop quiz about his hometown today.
On live television, he and other competitors will be given a riddle to decipher so they can race to six historic locations in Schenectady.
“If I don’t know my city better than the people coming in, it’s going to be embarrassing,” Erikson said. “And if I don’t come in first, that will be embarrassing.”
It’s all part of the Fireball Run, a game that’s part reality-TV show, part road race, and mostly an offbeat way to search for missing children.
Competitors arrive in a new city each day, trying to solve puzzles and get to the next stop before anyone else.
They will start at City Hall at 3 p.m. and reach the finish line at the Glen Sanders Mansion around 5 p.m.
But the drivers can’t simply solve the puzzles. They also must hand out 1,000 missing-child fliers every day, and ensure that each one is posted in a public place.
In Schenectady, Erikson plans to slow down and pass out many more fliers. His team is looking for Craig Frear, a local teen who disappeared in 2004 and is now feared dead. Investigators are looking for anyone with information about his disappearance.
Erikson said he’s been able to get the fliers spread far and wide. In one city, he met a trucker who offered to give a poster to every other trucker he met on a 1,000-mile route.
“We just expanded our outreach by 1,000 miles,” Erikson said, “so it’s important to stop and talk to everyone.”
Erikson and his racing partner, Richard Ruzzo, are hoping the missing-child posters will bring in leads or spark someone’s memory.
Frear disappeared in the woods behind Cambridge Manor, a short walk from his Scotia home, on June 27, 2004. He was 17 at the time and had slipped into the woods to avoid his father, who was about to confront him because he had been fired for not showing up at his job at Price Chopper.