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David Fudge: Ready for explosion of NebraskaLand DaysTell North Platte what you think
Photo by George Lauby
David Fudge
Courtesy Photo­Image
Loop Rawlins
Courtesy Photo­Image
Alan Jackson
Courtesy Photo­Image
Woodie Procell

David Fudge feels something like a kid with the biggest firecracker he’s ever had on the cusp of July 4th.

Fudge, the Nebraskaland Days executive director, is no stranger to the excitement. He’s worked on Nebraskaland Days for 13 years. 

But this one is special for a lot of reasons. 

The big parade on Saturday could be the biggest ever. It is the official state parade for the 150th anniversary of Nebraska’s statehood. It will be televised as far away as Omaha.

The Summer Jam concerts the following weekend are highlighted by the biggest country music star in the country -- Alan Jackson -- fronted by the Americana Music artist of the year in 2013, Dwight Yoakam.

Jackson, with 35 No. 1 hits, is unequaled.

Yoakam has had 30 top 40 hits and five No. 1 county music albums.

That’s just the first night.

The second night, Chris Stapleton will perform. He was the male vocalist of the year with the album of the year in 2015. Stapleton added a Grammy in 2016. Fans love his straightforward songs and delivery.

The Brothers Osborne will also perform on the second night. They were the vocal duo of the year in 2016, dethroning Florida Georgia Line, which was the last Nebraskaland Days act to sell out the Wild West Arena, in 2015.

“I don’t know that we’ve ever had this solid of a lineup, from start to finish,” Fudge said of the concerts.

He said ticket sales are “incredibly strong” -- especially seats in the stands -- for the 13,000 seats that are available each night, June 23-24.

Fudge will be highly pleased but not overly surprised if the concerts sell out. 

For tickets: http://nebraskalanddays.com/buy-tickets/


Veteran announcer Randy Corley will call the action at the Buffalo Bill Rodeo, a rodeo that is firmly established as one of the top rodeos in the U.S.

Loop Rawlins, a star of America's Got Talent, will perform during the rodeos, which also feature the Velvet Spurs riding club, Miss Rodeo Nebraska, and noted honorees.

Former announcer Hadley Barrett will be missed. The famed, beloved rodeo announcer died in March at age 87. Barrett announced the rodeo in North Platte since the 1950s. Fudge said discussions are underway with Barrett’s family about some kind of tribute to Barrett.

It’s apt to be a modest tribute, he said. It’s likely that Barrett would have wanted it that way.

Corley became a member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame this year, for his announcing ability. He will do a terrific job, Fudge said. 

Meanwhile, a crew worked Tuesday, May 30, cleaning and painting tables in the pavilion, where Woodie Procell and his band will play dances after the two final nights of the rodeo, June 16-17. 

Procell, a retired rodeo clown and bullfighter, is a musical force.

He and his band have opened or shared the stage with big name acts such as Merle Haggard, John Anderson, Aaron Tippin, Chris LeDoux, Asleep At The Wheel, Ricochet, Trick Pony, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Rick Trevino, Brian White, Tanya Tucker, Lonestar, Mark Chesnutt, Toby Keith, Tracy Lawrence, Blackhawk, Ty Herndon and Roy Clark.
“It’s like having a big firecracker, and we get to shoot it off,” he said. 

Other events of note

• The quilt show, which is back after an absence of a few years, at the McKinley Education Center.

• Twilight tours are open at the Golden Spike Tower for $1 off to anyone with a Nebraskaland Days ticket.

• Cowboy Kickball game on the floor of the Wild West Arena at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 21. No charge.

• “Taps and Tunes” a microfest with music at the wild West Arena Pavilion on Thursday, June 22, sponsored by Fat Dogs, with craft beers and wines by Nebraska brewers, including the new Pals Brewery of North Platte.

• Mayor’s prayer breakfast – June 15, 7-9 a.m. at Harvest Christian Church. Featuring food and fellowship, Lt. Gov. Mike Foley will share some of his life experiences with those in attendance.


There will be a demo derby to start the whole shebang on Tuesday June 6 at the fairgrounds, plus sandcastles, tennis, golf, runs, Miss Rodeo Nebraska competition, Golden Games, a children's parade, cake bake, pork sandwiches, prime rib sandwiches, mutton bustin', sweet rolls, antique cars on parade, the Frontier Revue, an art show, nightly carnival, and much more.

This report was first published in the Bulletin's May 31 print edition.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 6/11/2017
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