With Brown County Rocks #325 more than doubling its membership over the summer months, area businesses have joined in the rock hunting craze.

With its membership growing from 1,800 to 4,000 since May, Brown County Rocks #325 recently received an additional boost with area businesses joining the action and offering discounts when hunters returns one of their specially crafted stones.

“It definitely has grown so much and businesses caught on and started doing their own thing,” Brown County Rocks Head Administrator Rhonda Bode said. “I didn’t organize with any other businesses other than Moore Printing Company. Coleman did a little giveaway rock for watermelons and tomatoes and I guess businesses started seeing it and jumped on it themselves. Now, it’s just a huge community thing.”

As part of the program, members paint and hide rocks throughout the park, landmarks or near areas of commerce. When a hunter finds a rock, they post their find on the Brown County Rocks #325 Facebook page and then hide it again for another hunter. While some area restaurants offer free food and drinks area radio station KOXE upped the ante by offering a pair of tickets to Six Flags’ Hurricane Harbor in Arlington.

“It has brought the community together. A lot of people who didn’t even know about it are seeing businesses doing it and posting on their Facebook,” Bode said. “Then they see what it’s really about. They have families too and it turns into a fun activity other than minor drama, it has been great.”

With the exponential growth of the group comes expansion. While hiders and hunters have focused on Brownwood and Early parks and areas of commerce in the past, Bode said people are expanding into Zephyr and even as far as Coleman as the rock hunter craze spreads.

“I never knew so many people would be so interested in it,” Bode said. “I know its fun and I know it’s a great community event, but I really did not expect this much interest and this many talented people we have locally. It’s great. It’s not just sitting down for 5 minutes. Some people put a lot of time into (painting) these rocks and just hiding them for anyone to find. They might never know what happened to their rock. They might spend hours on just one. It’s amazing to see that kind of commitment.”

Those looking to join Brown County Rocks can find them on Facebook at Brown County Rocks (Texas) #325ROCKS!, drop by Moore Printing Company or contact Bode through email rhondaallison52@gmail.com. The Bulletin recently got into the rock hunting craze and hid five rocks Saturday. The prizes include a pair of tickets to Schlitterbahn, a free two-month subscription to the Bulletin and a free garage sale advertisement. Hunters can return the rocks to the Bulletin office at 700 Carnegie Street to claim their prize.