|Community rallied together to kick off BRAN 35|
|Written by Wauneta Breeze|
|Thursday, 11 June 2015 16:51|
By Sheri Hink-Wagner
The Wauneta Breeze
The much anticipated arrival of BRAN (Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska) has come and gone in Wauneta. The 35th BRAN started Sunday from Wauneta.
BRAN riders, staff and supporters arrived in Wauneta starting on Friday last week, with the majority arriving Saturday afternoon. The arrival of the 400-plus riders, 60 BRAN staff members and supporters nearly doubled the population of Wauneta Saturday night.
Many different community groups came together to make our BRAN guests feel welcome, with efforts led by BRAN committee chairman Joey Large.
Efforts included the Wauneta-Palisade FFA, cheerleaders, junior class, and some younger students as well. Community organizations including the Bronco Boosters, Mercy Meals, Wauneta Volunteer Fire Department and Wauneta EMS, Wauneta-Palisade Lions Club and local businesses pulled together to feed all our guests Saturday night.
Sunday morning meals were provided by Mercy Meals, Wauneta Roller Mills, Palisade VFW Auxiliary and Palisade Fire and Rescue.
All-in-all, the event went very smoothly. Large and BRAN staff members agreed the community did an excellent job hosting the guests. Large said he heard complements about the beautiful weather, excellent food choices and the great atmosphere downtown.
BRAN riders ranged in age from pre-teens to over 80 years of age. Many were from Nebraska, but by no means all.
This year’s route began in Wauneta and included stops in Cambridge, Eustis, Axtell, Clay Center, Wilber, Syracuse and ended in Omaha.
Local team joins ride
Six members of the Roe family joined in this year’s ride–James, Marvene and Isaiah Roe as well as Laura Blomstedt, Bunnie Lawler and JoAnna Lawler.
Although 12-year-old Isaiah has participated in BRAN previously with James, this will be his first solo ride. He’s riding on the bike James’ late daughter, Amanda Douglas, planned to ride on BRAN before she passed away.
Marvene’s father, Leo Porter, will travel the route via vehicle following the team across the state. Porter will serve as the team’s personal SAG (supporter).
Roe team members are riding across the state wearing custom made matching jerseys, sponsored by Harchelroad Motors.
Ride for all ages
One interesting fellow who visited Wauneta over the weekend was Dick Galusha. The 81-year-old rider started bike riding when he was 65 by taking bike rides across Europe and around Pheonix, Ariz.
He began participating in BRAN 11 years ago when he was 70 years of age.
Galusha has not let medical issues get in the way from his passion for bike riding. He joins this year’s BRAN after having three hip replacements, six angioplasties, two stints in his heart, a heart attack and a stroke.
“Life’s going on,” he said. Galusha’s doctors once told him he should stop riding, but he proved them wrong. His only wish is that he would have started riding earlier. He said he really enjoys the yearly ride across Nebraska, especially all the people he gets to meet along the way.
Minnesota man takes 24th ride across Nebraska
BRAN 35 marks Ben Butler’s 24th ride across Nebraska. Butler is from St. Paul, Minn., and started participating in BRAN in 1989 when a co-worker with Omaha ties talked him into it.
Now, 27 years later he’s still making the trip back to Nebraska each year to travel across our state, even though his Nebraska friend quit years ago. In the past 27 years, Butler has only missed three BRAN events.
Last week’s story listed the Palisade American Legion Auxiliary as one of the organizations providing breakfast for BRAN riders. The Sunday morning breakfast was actually sponsored by the Palisade VFW Auxiliary.
See additional BRAN photos on page 6 in the 6/11/2015 print or e-edition.