Gov. Ricketts, family visit Dunning, Neb. | TSLN.com

Gov. Ricketts, family visit Dunning, Neb.

Terri Licking

Dunning – Blaine County wrapped up a busy fair week on Saturday, Aug. 5. For the first time the octogenarians can remember, a governor came to visit, ending the fair in grand style.

Governor Ricketts, accompanied by his wife, Susanne and children, Roscoe, Margot and Eleanor used train, plane and automobile to make it from Gering to Dunning. The family was traveling on the Union Pacific's 'Nebraska 150 Express,' a whistle stop tour by train across the state reminiscent of train travel in the 19th century. The family embarked from the train to fly to the Thedford airport, twenty-seven miles west of Dunning. They were picked up there by two of his drivers where they traveled the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway west to Dunning.

He was invited to cut the ribbons on two new venues on Main Street. The Sandhills Heritage Museum (SHM) that opened during Memorial Day weekend houses memorabilia from the history of the area as well as a display area highlighting the Hereford breed, the breed that made Nebraska the "beef state." Prior to the ribbon cutting for the museum, he received a guided tour from SHM board chairman, Kathie Martindale of Brewster. Linda Teahon, Chadron/Purdum/Dunning, told him about the efforts of the Hereford Crossroads committee trying to preserve the breed's history.

Sandhills Blessings, a custom quilt and sewing business opened their door July 1. Owner Teresa Goedeke makes custom quilts, T-shirts and can even imprint water and coffee mugs. She created t-shirts with the community and time of totality for the upcoming total solar eclipse. Husband Mike, when not working for Minert-Simonson Ranch, welds home décor items using horseshoes and other metals for her shop.

Governor Ricketts was assisted in the ribbon cutting by Eva Oliver, Merriman, Miss Burwell Rodeo Queen and Kendi Miligerl, Ravenna, Nebraska Hereford Association Queen as well as the SHM board members, Martindale, Teahon, Goedeke, Lois Gordon, Vicki Webb and JeanAnn Teahon. The Goedekes and the queens helped him cut the ribbon when they traveled to the end of the block for the Sandhills Blessings ribbon cutting. Roscoe's highlight of the trip was sitting atop Joe 'J.T.' Bradley's horse, Tonto, while Ty Bass and his horse, Spud, looked on. The two local cowboys were National High School rodeo participants, where J.T captured 8th in the all-around.

When the family arrived, the Governor wasted no time in meeting, greeting and shaking hands with most all that came to see him. While getting a photo with the Blaine Co. Foundation board members who hosted the barbecue, he discussed ways that they and other small communities could pursue funding for housing and other community enhancement projects.

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Prior to the ribbon cuttings he commended the efforts of the community members not only opening doors on new businesses that bring a positive economic impact to the area, but also commended the SHM board members for their challenging work and their achievement of a twenty year-long dream of preserving the history for generations to come. "Stories of the past need preserved, not only for what it means for future generations, but for tourism to the area and again, the positive economic impact it offers."

After the ribbon cutting, the family got to enjoy home grown Nebraska beef prior to returning to Gering, Nebraska to catch the train that took them to Omaha. The governor encourages any community hosting a special event, or ribbon cuttings such as Dunning had, to contact his office with an invite.

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