Hogan a hero behind the scenes
Hastings, Neb. (June 8, 2015) – Lee Hogan has never sought the spotlight; he likes to be behind the scenes.
The rural Hastings, Neb. man spent eighteen years on the Adams Co. (Neb.) Agricultural Board of Directors, and spent countless weekends at the Adams County Fairgrounds, helping with the Nebraska High School Finals Rodeo and the Oregon Trail Rodeo.
Producing a rodeo is labor-intensive, and Hogan was part of every one of the high school rodeos in Hastings. He’s been one of the workhorses behind the scenes since it came to town eleven years ago, and also at the pro rodeo, held over Labor Day.
He was instrumental in getting the Nebraska High School Association to move its finals to Hastings, after meeting some resistance. “It was a struggle to get them here the first time. We thought we’d never get them this far east, and we lucked out.”
Prior to Hastings, the state finals were held in Harrison, Valentine Kearney, and Broken Bow, but the Hastings facility won out. “We have everything in one place: camping, stalls, indoor rooms for meetings. It’s all right here,” Hogan said. Previous venues might have an arena in one place but meeting rooms across town. “We knew, all we had to do was get them here once, and they’d love what they had,” Hogan said.
About 120 high school rodeo athletes, their parents and siblings come to Hastings for the three day event, which this year runs June 18-20. Their economic impact on the town is substantial. “It’s one of the biggest money makers in town, as far as bringing money to the city,” Hogan said. Families “go shopping, buy food, gas, jeans, they’re out every day.”
Hogan described his work for the high school rodeo as “working my buns off.” The high school finals rodeo is “the most demanding thing that comes to the fairgrounds every year, because it starts at 7 am and goes to 10 pm each night.” But the work isn’t without its benefits. “It’s the hardest thing volunteers do, and one of the most gratifying.”
The highs school kids are what make it so good, Hogan said. “The kids are great. They’re mannerly, they pick up their trash. They’re great kids to work with, and the parents, too.”
Hogan did all the little things that needed done, said Judy Mignery, chairman of the high school finals. “He’s always been out there, doing hours and hours of work, making sure the dirt is right (for competition), making sure any other little items we need are out there, whether it be a shed for the goats, the truck pot to hang banners, he’s always been the one who’s gotten the extra things.”
Hogan is quick to deflect attention. “We were fortunate enough to have the volunteers who had the knowledge to get (the high school finals) done. The volunteers had the know-how. Everybody pretty much had their job, they knew what to do, and they went out and did it.”
Hogan retired from the board in December of 2014, and for the first time in eleven years, he won’t be helping at the high school finals. He’ll be missed, however.
“He’s been the quiet man behind the scenes,” Mignery said.
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