So… What is Questival? Well, it’s whatever you want it to be!
Questival is a 24-hour adventure race put on by a Salt Lake City based outdoor gear company called Cotopaxi. Their main objective as a company is not only to produce great gear, but also to encourage people to incorporate service into their adventuring. It comes to no surprise that the Cotopaxi moto is “Gear for Good”.
Cotopaxi puts on Questival in a handful of cities mostly on the western side of the United States. If you win, you get a fully funded service trip to Latin America for everyone on your team (teams are 2-6 people). So, how do you win? Questival has an app called Questify, where you are able to see all of the quests and what they are worth in points. The team with the most points wins. There is also a peer review component where creativity is rewarded for other prizes.
Questival began promptly at 7:30 on Friday night. We got to Dallas around 7:00 and checked in and walked around the kickoff party. It was a pretty crazy scene… tons of people running around with the super cute Cotopaxi backpacks and a few llamas (Cotopaxi means llama). There was even a dude dressed as a llama… llamas were a pretty obvious, and rather strange, theme to the whole event. The swag was pretty awesome for this race and included a crazy colorful 18 L backpack.
After a kickoff party where the dude dressed as a llama encouraged a crowd of 200 people to dance, we were off and Questival had begun. We started by trying to complete the challenges that required other teams like “exchange shoelaces with a stranger from another team”, which earned like 6 points.
We were off and we were going fast! We hit up all of the challenges right around us and then started driving into downtown Fort Worth. Off in the distance, we saw a giant stadium lights and remembered that one of the challenges was to cheer on a random team at a random sporting event. We quickly got off the highway and found the “Smokin’ Guns”, an adult recreational baseball team that was kicking some other baseball teams butt (like 14-0). We of course cheered them on with our rather pathetic signs and were off.
Downtown Fort Worth was rather quiet, so we completed our tasks, hopped in the car and decided it was time to find a campground. It was already past 11:00 pm and many of the challenges were camping related. So, by this point, our team, The Bat Llamas, were in 4th place and were getting excited that maybe we had a chance at winning. We went out to a state park and realized that the campground was locked. We frantically called as many campgrounds as possible… all were full. So, by 1:00 am, we had no campground.
We were still in 4th, but we knew without a little sleep and a campground that we were going to fall in the rankings. We decided to go to a quiet park in the middle of nowhere and hope no one stopped us from sleeping there.
Well… within minutes, a cop came. He seemed pretty skeptical of us and clearly wanted to search the car, but had no real reason to do so. He looked in all of the windows, asked us a bunch of questions and told us to leave. We were stuck, now around 2:00 am, still without a campsite.
While driving around, we found a KOA campground that still had a campsite left. Unfortunately, there was no one there to take our money. Out of desperation, we slept for a few hours, Frank and I in our bivvy sacks, Ben laying under a tarp, and Zeb in the car. About two hours later, we woke up, and left the KOA (sorry KOA, but no one was awake to take our money and there was no drop box).
We looked at the standings, it was around 5:30 am, and now we were in 30th place. Oh well! We decided to do some of the more fun challenges since we were clearly not going to win.
We went to downtown Dallas, where there were TONS of people with Questival flags taking pictures and videos. This is where I got to do my favorite challenge, singing a song Karaoke style, in the middle of a crowded pedestrian area of DT Dallas. The only song I feel confident singing alone is Bohemian Rhapsody… so I owned it. Now… I didn’t just sing it. I went all out, dancing around, following my teammates and belting it to Queen. Oh… and yes, I can hit the high note (and I did). People were taking video of me, a few people were following me as I did this. Honestly, it was a liberating experience. If you ever want to just feel like a rockstar… go sing some Queen down a crowded street like no one is watching.
We ran around the rest of the day, visiting parks, the farmer’s market, statues, and historic buildings before we finally made it to the final checkpoint and the finish time. We didn’t win. Actually, we came in 29th place, but we won the “Most Congenial” award (not sure how that was calculated. The race workers did like us a lot though). We had a ton of fun and I would totally do it again.
Seriously, check out the website and see if Questival is coming near you. It’s a pretty wild good time!