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Nebraska County Countdown: #4 Custer

Windmill festivals! Feedlots! Sandhills!

Custer County was named for General George Armstrong Custer, controversial Civil War officer and Indian fighter. Custer County includes the towns of Broken Bow and Sargent. It also houses the villages of Anselmo, Ansley, Arnold, Berwyn, Callaway, Comstock, Mason City, Merna, and Oconto. 4th highest number of cars in 1922? Every single person in Custer County in 1922 must have had 2 cars, that’s the only thing I can think of.

Nobody’s Getting Called Out by Redvalley Today!

Your map, milady

The Haps!

Party Under the Windmills

The Comstock Windmill Festival at one time was an incredibly huge party. Mismanagement and embezzlement put the kibosh on it for awhile, but it’s back up and running! There was a time when, at hearing I was from Nebraska, people didn’t ask if I had been shot at by Indians, they asked if I’d been to the Windmill Festival. Hopefully this gets big again.

Cows, Eating

The biggest feedlot in Nebraska is in Custer County. The interwebz say 90,000, but I heard it was permitted for 110,000 now. A fat steer is fed for about 6 months, so that’s 220,000 a year. The average steer, ready to butcher, weighs about 1600lbs. Assuming approximately 64% of a steer is dressed, so that’s 1024lbs. Times 220,000 head, that’s 224,280,000lbs of hamburger. That’s 904,120,000 quarter pounder patties per year. That’ll give you gout, for sure. That’s also 1.5 tons of manure per steer per year. And when the wind’s blowing from the South into Broken Bow, you smell all 330 Million lbs of annually produced manure. Especially in the two weeks of the spring and fall when the lagoons roll over. Some will say it smells like money. Others will disagree.

The largest feedlot in the world is Simplot feedlot in Idaho, with over 150,000 head capacity. A fat steer will eat it’s weight in feed in a month. That’s over 2 trillion pounds of feed going in, and 450 million lbs of manure going out, every year. From one feedlot. The most recent numbers I could find were from 2015, and over 99 million head of fat cattle were produced that year. Big numbers.

Scenic Byway

The Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway Interpretive Center is east of Broken Bow. If you’ve never driven Highway 2, you owe it to yourself to do so. Probably in June is the best time. If I had a nickel for every time I mentioned I’m from Nebraska the response was “Oh we drove across Nebraska once on the interstate/ That’s the most boring drive I’ve ever made/ Nebraska’s just a giant cornfield,” well, I’d have a bad bad back from carrying around my bag of nickels. Originally known as the “Potash Highway”, this road was originally built to move potash generated in Sheridan County to the railheads for use during World War I. Highway 2 shows the grandeur and beauty of the state. I hadn’t really noticed until my wife and I came in from the Black Hills to Scottsbluff on our motorcycle trip, and headed down 2 to get to Ord. Wow, so beautiful! Anyway, tell your friends.

Hops Etc.

Kinkaider Brewing Company has a taproom just outside of Broken Bow. I have not sampled their wares, hopefully a local can chime in here. These small taprooms are revitalizing Nebraska’s smaller communities, bringing younger people back to the rural towns.


Dowse Sod House in Custer County

Who’s Who in Custer County

Joy Morgan from Callaway served as editor of publications for the National Education Association from 1921-1954.

Jay Forrester, born in Anselmo, in 1949 invented the random-access, coincident-current magnetic core memory during Project Whirlwind, which laid the foundations for the personal computer.

James Bonner, born in Ansley, developed a technique of latex production that doubled the world rubber production.

Paul Tierney, PRCA All-Around Cowboy in 1980, inducted into Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2008.

Kent McCloughan, a defensive back for the Huskers 1962-1964, and the Oakland Raiders from 1965-1970. He was also a track star, setting the 220 record in 1961. That record stood until 2012!

From a reader: “His father delivered fuel to our farm & of course my brother and I would talk football with him. He referenced Gale Sayers stating upon retirement that was happy retiring knowing he had never been caught from behind. Kent’s dad Ralph told us that’s a lie ‘I was there when Kent tackled him from behind’ ( I may have deleted a few adjectives).”

Fearsome Fours

Lavonte David, linebacker. He’s a bad man.

Troy Dumas - All-Big 8 Linebacker in 1994.

Randy Gregory - defensive end, smoker of the bowl.

Tim Jackson, All-Big 8 Safety, 1988.

Current 4’s

Avery Anderson, junior defensive back.

Jaevon McQuitty, redshirt freshman wide receiver.

Andrew Abrahamowicz, freshman right-hand pitcher.

Johnny Trueblood, junior guard on Nebrasketball.

Sam Haiby, freshman guard on Women’s Nebrasketball.

Kate Leachman, sophomore forward on soccer team.

Sami Slaughter, sophomore outside hitter on volleyball team.

Did you get some beads at the Windmill Festival? Work as a feedlot cowboy for Adams? Outran by Kent McCloughan in high school? Tell us the sordid details in the comments!