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Nebraska County Countdown #23: Boone County

You’re now entering the sandhills of Nebraska

I grew up roughly three miles away from the line between Boone and Madison counties. After a few years away, I came back and am now still roughly three miles and 100 yards away from Boone county.

It’s a rural, ag based economy like most of the counties in Nebraska. Lots of farms, hog confinements, and feed yards are spread through the land to the horizon. Albion, the county seat, is considered the “Gateway to the Sandhills”. While I am sure there are many of gateways the town of Albion decided to make it their own.

You do not have to go much further west of town and you can see how the topography changes from the rich dark soil of Madison or Platte counties that border it to the east. The land gets a little rougher and sandier. There’s still farming going on here but ranching is also more prevalent than in the more eastern part of the state.

In between Albion and Petersburg is the Olson Nature Preserve. An absolutely gorgeous area that has been set aside for recreation and research. Local science classes use it for research and boy scout troops use it for camping and fishing. In fact, I grew up camping there. I still have my diamond willow hiking stick that I got in scouts there. It’s a beautiful area that should be seen at some point in one’s lifetime. A real “diamond in the rough”...

The county has produced quite a few Huskers over the years. Chris Nelson was a 6’4” tight end in the 1970’s from Albion. A strong player who helped Osborn through his early years as coach.

The 1990’s were where the area saw an uptick in players contributing. The 1992 class saw both Darrin and Damon Schmadke walk on with a class that had Tommy Frazier, Aaron Graham, Tony Veland, and numerous other national championship caliber athletes. Jason Olnes followed the Schmadke brothers and walked on in 1995.

Most recently Wyatt Mazour walked on in 2015 after guiding the Boone Central/Newman Grove Cardinals to a perfect 13-0 state championship season in class C-1 in 2014. With any luck, you might be hearing his name more this year in Scott Frost’s offense.

South of Albion you have St. Edward who had Scott Shanle walk on in 1998. He played in every game of his Husker career before playing for almost a decade in the NFL. Most recently for the New Orleans Saints where he was apart of the 2009 Super Bowl winning team.

I do have one story about Scott from high school. The guy had near perfect form when it came to sprinting. Before one meet my track coach told me to watch his heat which was a couple before mine to see how good of a sprinter he was. Coach wasn’t lying, Scott was born to run that race. From that point his running form was what I looked towards in my development as a sprinter.

A couple of meets later I finally got to run against him. Of course, he blew us all off the line and it wasn’t too many years later he was helping lead the Blackshirts defense. It’s amazing how life works like that.

Multiple other players have come from the county going all the way back to the 1940’s Mainly walk-on’s but Huskers none the less.

Anyway, Albion is the county seat and the county has a population of 5,505 people. The farming in the area is mainly corn, soybeans, and alfalfa. As I stated above, cattle and hogs are also raised here.

Believe it or not, it was actually named after the famed American pioneer Daniel Boone.

...FYI, Jill (rachbabe) respects our readers and put in the map and courthouse. Thank her for the additions...