While the prospect of jumping on the back of a 2,000-pound beast may seem crazy to most people, for the past 23 years adrenaline junkies from throughout the Midwest have come to Fremont to do just that.
Later this week, area residents will again get the chance to marvel at the sight of thrill-seekers taking their shot at riding a bull during the 24th Annual Fremont Bull Riding Classic.
On Friday and Saturday, the Fremont Bull Riding Classic begins at 7 p.m. in the Christensen Field Arena. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate for adults and the doors open at 5:30 p.m. With the ticket purchase each night, attendees will also be granted entrance to each evening’s dance, which starts at 9:30 p.m. on both nights.
Along with providing plenty of entertainment for adults throughout the community, the Fremont Bull Riding Classic also features opportunities for children to get in on the fun.
Tickets for children 12 and under only cost $1, and can also get in on the action during the annual Mutton Bustin’ competition which begins at 6:15 p.m. each night.
Registration for Mutton Bustin’—where children ride sheep and attempt to not get thrown off— begins at 5:30 p.m. each night and the event is limited to the first 30 kids registered.
According to Darla Garretson, sponsorship coordinator for the Christensen Field Improvement Task Force, Mutton Bustin’ is continually one of the most popular events that occurs each year in conjuction with the Fremont Bull Riding Classic.
“We always get a great response, and unfortunately have to turn a lot of kids away,” she said. “So this year we actually added 10 more spots to the event because the kids love it.”
Along with Mutton Bustin’, there will also be an intermission show which began for the first time last year, known as the Wild Steer Ride.
According to Christensen Field Improvement Task Force President John Grandstaff, the Wild Steer Ride features teams of three people who have to attempt to catch, saddle, and ride a steer to the finish line at the end of the arena.
“Basically they let loose the steer and the teams scramble to catch it and ride it,” he said. “We started the event last year and it’s quite a spectacle.”
Following the rodeo based events, the entertainment will shift to something almost everyone can participate in—dancing.
Following the Fremont Bull Riding Classic each night will be a dance that begins at 9:30 p.m. This year the dance will feature music from Chad Lee.
Lee is based out of Omaha and has shared the stage with country greats such as Randy Travis, Kenny Rogers, Dierks Bentley and Lady Antebellum.
Entrance to the dance is included with the purchase of a rodeo ticket, but for those who do not attend the Fremont Bull Riding Classic, tickets to the dance can be purchased for $10 at the door.
Along with providing plenty of family-friendly entertainment to people throughout the area, the Fremont Bull Riding Classic also serves an important purpose for the Christensen Field Improvement Task Force, who started and organizes the event each year.
“This is really our only big fundraising event of the year,” Grandstaff said. “We use all of the funds raised to improve the facilities at Christensen Field, and it has helped us complete a lot of projects through the years.”
Some of those projects include installing new LED televisions inside of Christensen Field Main Arena, along with the new LED announcement sign that sits in front of the arena, and many others.
According to Christensen Field Improvement Task Force member Houston Moseman, over the course of the last 23 years, there have been more than $500,000 in improvements.
For more information regarding the Fremont Bull Riding Classic and pre-purchasing tickets, people are encouraged to visit www.bullridingclassic.com.
Doris Boettner was young when she started coloring.
“I colored as soon as I could hold a crayon. My mother started me coloring, I think, because she liked to,” she said.
Boettner continued the colorful tradition.
“I started my granddaughters doing it,” the Fremont woman said. “We’d all get around the coffee table and we’d get on our knees and color.”
Years later, Boettner is still coloring — not with grandchildren who have since grown up — but with her pals at the Fremont Friendship Center.
From 10 to 11:30 a.m. each Tuesday, art-loving friends gather for “Coloring with Paulette.” Sitting at a table covered with a festive cloth, the participants set to work. Sometimes, they chat while coloring. Sometimes they just color, but people at the center appreciate the relaxation it offers.
“It’s a nice, restful, therapeutic, calming activity,” said Marv Steffensmeier of Fremont.
Lee Gaughenbaugh would agree.
“It’s very soothing,” Gaughenbaugh said, adding that he appreciates the friendship aspect of the activity, too.
“Coloring with Paulette” got started in 2016 after Marv’s wife, Paulette, approached the center’s manager, Laurie Harms, about offering the activity.
“I mentioned to Laurie one time that we needed something to do besides playing cards in the morning,” she said. “Coloring came up and I got this tablecloth. We got coloring books and we took off from there.”
A short distance from the table, friendship center guests played a rousing game of chair volleyball after which several of them then filled tables to play card games.
Those at the card tables may be a little noisier, but the folks at the coloring table enjoy their pastime, too.
Unlike the simple children’s coloring books, those at the table have books with more intricate designs. They use colored pencils instead of crayons.
Laura Ueberrhein used a yellow pencil to color a small part of her picture which featured a floral-type design with lots of wavy lines.
Gaughenbaugh also used yellow, a color which reminds him of springtime.
There is a rule at the coloring table.
“Nobody tells anybody what color to color,” Steffensmeier said. “Everyone just does their own.”
Participants keep their colored pages in folders. Center guests Bob Agee and Maria Luevane even keep their coloring pages in plastic sleeves in a three-ring notebook.
“I have a lot of mine in 8-by-10 frames at home,” Paulette Steffensmeier said.
Participants also said their family members give them colored pencils or books.
“I’ve gotten coloring books from my son and his wife in Alaska,” Steffensmeier said. “I have Alaska coloring books. Some are Alaska animals and Alaska flowers. For birthdays and Christmas, they send mom a coloring book.”
Yet any would-be participants need not bring their own supplies.
“A lot of people have donated coloring books and Laurie has provided all the colored pencils, so nobody has to bring their own stuff,” Steffensmeier said.
Amid conversation and coffee-sipping, the coloring crew continued working on their creations.
“Most of us have been coming here for years,” Boettner said. “We’ve made good friends here.”
Plans are to keep coloring.
“We’ll never run out of pencils or pages to color,” Steffensmeier said.
And while working on their pages, participants can share good memories of coloring in days gone by — like Boettner has of engaging in this artform with her grandchildren.
“Now they all have children of their own,” she said.
Seven Fremont High School students have qualified for the NSAA State Journalism Championship.
The students were selected based on their work in Fremont High School’s student-run publications — the Fremont High Rustler and the yearbook, according to the head of the school’s journalism department, Jack Denker.
“Overall, we’re just really proud of our kids,” Denker said. “Our kids work really hard every year in our journalism program.”
The event, which takes place on April 23 at Norfolk Community College, will challenge state qualifiers in various journalism-related tasks based on the category that they qualified in. Of the 12 qualifiers, the top six will win medals.
Photographers will be sent out on assignment to go take pictures on campus. News writers will be given information and told to write a story. Cartoonists will be given a choice of current event issues and will produce an editorial cartoon. All of it is done on deadline.
“It’s kind of a real-life setting,” Denker said.
Several students are returning qualifiers. That includes senior Aaron Mercado, who is the reigning state champion in sports/action photography and a six-time state qualifier. This year, he’ll be competing in sports/action photography once again, in addition to Yearbook Sports Feature Writing.
Junior Austin Knippelmeir will be competing in sports feature writing for the second year in a row, in addition to sports news coverage. And Hayley Lambley, a junior, will be participating in editorial cartooning, where she placed in fourth last year.
First-time qualifiers include senior Jayden McDuffy in sports action photography, senior Brianne Masters in yearbook layout, junior Lauren Vetter in yearbook layout and sophomore Alexa Mahnke in news writing.
“We feel really good about our chances,” Denker said. “I think we’ve got a really good group of journalists who are going to be going to Norfolk and we feel comfortable that they’re all going to have a good opportunity to earn medals.”
The students meet every day to work on the Rustler or the yearbook, and in preparation for the event, Denker will do some contest-specific activities during the next few weeks.
“We meet every day,” Denker said. “They’re continuing to constantly practice their craft every day.”