4,000 expected Saturday for city Easter egg hunts

Miner Photo/MITCHELL BATSON

A musk ox is among the prized trophy animals taken by Steve Neuberger with bow and arrow.

Neuberger shot the musk ox in April 2000 on a hunting trip north of the Arctic Circle, where the air temperature was 60 degrees below zero and the wind chill factor was minus-95.

"I went rifle hunting with my family when I was 14 and within an hour I had my first deer," he said.

"That afternoon, my family was going back out and my dad said I couldn't go because I'd filled my tag.

I was very disappointed."

At 16, Neuberger went archery hunting for the first time.

He bought a bow and several arrows and went with a friend.

He hunted all season and never got close enough to get off a shot at a deer.

But being able to stalk game all season hooked him on archery hunting.

Neuberger, 46, said he is largely self-taught with bow and arrow.

However, he hooked up with an archery pro shop at age 26, learned a great deal about archery and began shooting in some tournaments.

Today, the Kingman home of Steve and Claudia Neuberger has numerous trophy animals displayed, nearly all taken with his bow and arrow.

Neuberger, who was born in Minneapolis, Minn., has hunted moose, caribou and black bear in Alaska, and Dall sheep, moose, caribou and musk ox in northern Canada.

He is looking forward to a May trip to Kamchatka, in eastern Russia, where he will go after a brown bear.

"I eat everything I shoot and I always go after the best animal I can," Neuberger said.

"That's part of the challenge."

Neuberger said his most unusual hunt took him and a friend, Troy Nolte, north of the Arctic Circle in pursuit of musk ox.

They put the trip together in four days in April 2000 after other hunters cancelled their hunt plans.

"The ambient temperature was 60 degrees below zero when we got there and the wind chill was 95- below," Neuberger said.

"You couldn't expose skin for more than 30 seconds, so just going to the bathroom was a challenge."

Neuberger and Nolte wanted to hunt larger musk ox further out from a small town of about 100 people, so they had guides pull them on sleds for seven hours to the hunting area.

They wore gloves with heaters, big parkas, snow pants and were covered with caribou hides and sleeping bags on the sleds and were still cold, Neuberger said.

Three tents were set up at the hunting area.

Food was cooked inside the tents, but you still could not remove clothing due to the penetrating cold.

They stayed one night and each bagged a musk ox the following day.

The harsh weather of that hunt aside, Neuberger is a survivor in another respect.

He has suffered two heart attacks in the last six years.

He was playing softball at Hualapai Mountain Park at age 40 when he was first stricken.

He spent seven days recovering at Kingman Regional Medical Center.

The second heart attack came last September while Neuberger was on a Dall sheep hunt in the Yukon region of Canada.

"The hunt was over and I was sitting with my guide waiting for the Super Cub plane to come and pick us up," he said.

"Chest pains hit and I immediately ate eight aspirins, while the guide got on the radio and told the plane's pilot to hurry up."

Neuberger first was taken to the small town of Mayo, which has a clinic with a doctor and two nurses.

They stabilized his heart by administering heparin and a clot-busting drug.

But the combination caused his heart rate to drop to just 18 beats per minute and atropine and adrenalin were given to bring his heart back to a life-sustaining beat.

"I was then airlifted to a hospital in Whitehorse for further treatment before being air evacuated by Leer jet to a Seattle hospital," Neuberger said.

"I spent four days in Seattle, during which time a stent was put into my heart.

Nine days later, I was elk hunting in northern Arizona."

Neuberger said he believes the reason he is alive today is to provide jobs to people.

He opened a used car dealership March 1 in Fort Mojave, his third.

Neuberger, who owned a photography business for 20 years, had a shot at the 1992 Summer Olympics for archery.

He went to trials in April of that year in Tempe and finished 43rd among 353 archers who had qualified for the event.

He has a different goal in mind now.

"My goal is to shoot all 27 big game animals in North America before I die," Neuberger said.

"I have 13 of them now."

Steve and Claudia Neuberger, who have been married 21 years, moved to Kingman from Fargo, N.D., in March 1997 following the great flood that struck that region.

Neuberger also enjoys playing golf three or four times per week.

Neighbors is a feature that appears Monday in the Kingman Daily Miner.

If you have an interesting story you'd like to share, contact Terry Organ at 753-6397, Ext.

225.KINGMAN – A tradition dating back more than 20 years will continue Saturday as the Kingman Parks and Recreation Department holds its annual Easter egg hunts.

Thousands of plastic eggs containing candy and small toys will be placed in Metcalfe Park and on the softball fields at Centennial Park for children up to age 10 participating in the hunts.

Parks Director Darel Fruhwirth said roughly 3,000 people turned out last year for the hunt at Centennial Park and almost 1,000 showed up at Metcalfe Park.

He anticipates similar numbers at the two sites this year.

Fruhwirth was asked why hunts are held at two locations.

"To be convenient for people downtown (in Metcalfe Park) that may not have transportation (to Centennial Park) and to offer hunts at two different times so that if families have other things planned, they can pick the time most convenient," he said.

The hunt at Metcalfe Park starts at 10 a.m.

Three areas are set aside, one for children up to age 4, another for children 5 to 7, and the last for children ages 8-10.

Three softball fields at Centennial Park will be ready at noon for children in the same age groups.

In addition, a fourth field is reserved for "special needs" children, such as those in wheelchairs.

Grand prize eggs will be among those placed at each hunt site.

Children finding one of those eggs will win baskets filled with larger toys and games.

The Easter bunny will mingle with children and parents during both hunts.

After the egg hunt ends at Centennial Park, two-person teams comprised of individuals 13 years of age and up will participate in an adult egg toss.

"Last year, we started the egg toss with 86 teams," Fruhwirth said.

"Once an egg hits the ground and explodes, you're out.

We keep going until working our way down to the eventual winners, and the winning toss distance last year was 92 feet."

Trophies and/or prizes to be determined will go to the egg-toss winners, he said.

Judging for a coloring contest was under way Thursday.

Children in kindergarten through sixth grades were eligible to enter, and judges were examining about 1,800 entries to pick first, second and third places in each grade.

Winners will receive plaques and prizes from Taco Bell, the sponsor of the coloring contest, Fruhwirth said.

"Centennial is bigger, more wide open and a little more convenient for most people," Fruhwirth said.

"But if you snooze, you lose.

We'll start the hunts exactly at 10 and 12, and they're over in a matter of minutes."