Seward to welcome cyclists for BRAN41


The Seward community will welcome more than 300 cyclists on Friday, June 9, as they stay the night before beginning the final leg of the 41st Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska.

Live music, a free movie and family fun will be part of the experience.

Donna Hendrickson, executive assistant and event planner for the Seward County Chamber and Development Partnership, is working with a welcoming committee to make the overnight stay a highlight of the BRAN riders’ trip.

They have planned activities all day June 9, as the cyclists are expected to roll into town early in the day.

“We have a couple of riders and previous riders on our welcome committee,” Hendrickson said. “They said some of them will be here before breakfast.”

Riders will begin the 372-mile journey June 4 in Benkelman in the southwest corner of Nebraska. They will ride 80 miles to Cambridge, where they will stay the night before continuing to Alma, Red Cloud and Hebron over the following three days.

From Hebron, cyclists will travel 55 miles through Plymouth and DeWitt, stopping in Wilber for the night, then passing through Crete, Milford and Dorchester on their 35-mile trip to Seward. The final leg of the journey will land them in Ashland on June 10.

Riders will enter Seward from the east, coming from Matzke Highway, then taking Highway 34 to Fifth Street, then going north past the courthouse square to Seward High School.

They will set up camp for the night in the green space around the high school and across Pinewood Avenue near Ridgewood Rehabilitation and Care Center. In case of inclement weather, they will use the high school as shelter.

Hendrickson said she was grateful to SHS and Ridgewood for allowing riders onto their grounds.

“We really appreciate their partnership in this,” she said.

Riders will be invited to Ridgewood at 1:15 that day to visit with residents and share information about their bikes.

“They have some fascinating stories,” Hendrickson said. “Their bicycles are so different from what those residents may have grown up with.”

Various community groups, businesses and individuals will offer riders what they need, from lunch to professional massages, shuttle rides to hot showers.

Hendrickson said Pork Belly Ventures operates a shower truck that will be in the high school parking lot for riders to use when they get to town. The company also provides a truck for cyclists’ baggage, which the SHS football team has volunteered to unload.

Hendrickson said students at St. John Lutheran School and Seward High created welcome signs to post along the road as riders arrive.

Seward United Methodist Church will have lunch for the riders beginning at 11 a.m., and a youth group raising money for a trip to Costa Rica will sell snacks and drinks at the high school.

At 3 p.m., BRAN riders will be treated to a free showing of “Field of Dreams” at the Rivoli Theatre. The movie is open to all others with paid admission.

From 4 to 6 p.m., Mercy City Church will host games and activities for BRAN riders and the entire community on the courthouse lawn.

A street dance will begin at 6 p.m., with live music by Lincoln-based rock band Wonder Rising, food vendors and a beer garden by Bottle Rocket Brewing until 9 p.m.

Fifth Street on the east side of the courthouse will be closed from 4 to 10 p.m. for the event.

Hendrickson said BRAN cyclists often generate around $20,000 in retail business for local restaurants and shops during their stay.

As a thank you for hosting the riders, Seward will receive $1,500 in scholarship money from BRAN to distribute to one or more high school students.

As the riders gear up for the final ride from Seward to Ashland on June 10, Hendrickson said they will gather to vote on which host community was their favorite.

“If we are chosen as the favorite host city, we would receive an additional $1,500 scholarship,” she said.

Hendrickson said volunteers are still needed to shuttle riders from camping areas to the showers, and from the school to Ridgewood to downtown and back from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. that Friday, June 9.

“If anyone would like to volunteer, we would love their help,” she said.

Volunteers may contact Hendrickson at (402) 643-4189.

“We’re hoping that Seward will welcome riders with open arms,” Hendrickson said.

For more information on the event or to register to ride, visit