Meet the New Danger Run Clue Master!

Danger Run

Garry O'Brien

We interview the new Danger Run Clue Master, Garry O’Brien, and get the inside scoop on what’s new for Louisville’s own haunted puzzle-solving road game for Halloween 2017!

“I didn’t choose the Haunt Life,” Danger Run’s new Clue Master, Garry O’Brien, is fond of saying. “The Haunt Life chose me.” O’Brien has inherited the mantle of Clue Master for Louisville’s unique Halloween road game this season, in place of founder and original Clue Master, Joe Bulleit. After 22 years of guiding the event and probably writing more limericks than any other human being in history, Bulleit is stepping back this season from full time haunting.

Bulleit became Clue Master Emeritus in 2017, leaving the company in the hands of his longtime partners, Michael Book and Mike Kimzey. While the business end of this Louisville haunt season institution is certainly in good hands, Bulleit’s step back could have left a gaping creative hole in the heart of the tradition. After all, Bulleit was the not only the founder of the event, but was also the sole clue writer for the puzzle books that make up the centerpiece of the Danger Run experience.

Enter Danger Run super fan, Garry O’Brien.

“The first time I ever heard about Danger Run was on a WHAS 11 news story back in 2011,” says O’Brien. “I played the virtual version of the game online and then that Saturday we drove the sample course and I was hooked.”

Danger Run quickly became an O’Brien family Halloween tradition. “That first year, we got horribly lost. One of the clues involved reading a sign on a Dairy Queen restaurant, and we passed a DQ that seemed to indicate we were on the right track,” relates O’Brien. “When we got finished, I actually complained to Joe that his clues were wrong, but it turned out we had missed the first DQ and ended up coming across another DQ that was meant for a different course!”

O’Brien became obsessed with conquering Danger Run and in 2012 he began writing clues for his own home version of the game just for practice, and in 2013 he submitted his own clue book to Joe Bulleit himself.

“I looked at Garry’s clue book,” says Bulleit, “and if you didn’t know better, you would think I had written it and it was an official Danger Run Clue Book. Some of Garry’s clues were even better than ones I had come up with.”

That year O’Brien made the Danger Run Finals where he was eliminated in the third round. Undeterred, O’Brien made the finals again in 2014 when he not only became the new Danger Run Champion, but also finished his final’s puzzle sheets first in the room in every round.

“Joe told me that one of the other finalists said that if I was going to ever be in the finals again that he wouldn’t bother playing anymore because there was no way to beat me,” admits O’Brien.

So what do you do with an unbeatable champion who writes his own clue books? You hire him. In 2015, on Danger Run XXI, O’Brien assisted in writing the clues and began riding along in the car with Bulleit to plan and test the routes.

“It was a dream come true,” declares O’Brien. “I’ve always been more of an abstract minded person. In school, my best subjects were always math and science, and puzzle solving is something I’ve always been obsessed with.”

So how did this puzzle solving genius feel about the haunted houses at the end of each breadcrumb trail? “For me, the haunted houses were just the gravy on the main course. There’s the thrill of not knowing what to expect when you reach your destination, and we always enjoyed the haunts, but the game was what kept me coming back year after year.”

Danger Run XXIII marks O’Brien’s first time at bat writing all the clues himself and designing the new courses that will ultimately lead to two different haunted attractions. What can fans expect?

More rural roads than ever before!

“This year there will be more rural roads than ever before,” reveals O’Brien. “More narrow, country roads and dark woods, and more roads that have no street lights. On some of these roads, if you were to turn off your headlights, you couldn’t see a thing but pitch darkness.”

Don’t miss this year’s 2017 Danger Run and your opportunity to match wits with the new Clue Master! It’s the same great game including admission to TWO haunted houses!

The Phantom of The Ville

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