BROKEN BOW–Every year in the fall, the Nebraska One Box Pheasant Hunt in Broken Bow, Nebraska, hosts hunters from all over the country for three days of shooting competitions, hunting activities, award banquets, and social events. Sunrise to sunset, select hunters search the sky for majestic pheasants to take flight. Equipped with ONE BOX of shells, only ONE five-member new team can share the glory of bagging the most birds.
This year, the 60th One Box Pheasant Hunt featured seven new teams and 45 past shooters. Nebraska One Box Chairman for 2020 Joe Franssen said the weekend was smaller than past years due to COVID-19.
“It went quite a bit different than normal due to the facts of all the hoops you have to jump through for 2020. But we felt like we could have a safe event for our participants and for our community. We feel like we accomplished this and we had a lot of happy hunters and happy participants. We do apologize to the community for not being able to involve them as much as we have in the past,” Franssen told KCNI/KBBN.
Many competitors traveled from out of state for this adventure of a lifetime and also participated in the Lynn Berggren Memorial Hunt hosted by volunteers early Thursday morning. Franssen said the focus was on Nebraska but participants ranged from Texas, Georgia, and Wisconsin and the weekend also saw visitors from Iowa, South Dakota, Colorado, California, and Illinois.
Fundraisers, award banquets, and social events were held at the Cobblestone Hotel and One Box Convention Center in Broken Bow. Area community members also hosted each new team to welcome the sportsmen to Custer County.
Special guest, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts captained the Nebraska Team and was in attendance for the weekend festivities. The Ladies Board hosted their annual luncheon Saturday featuring the Fremont Tri-Tones. Sporting clays and trap shooting competitions were also on the schedule at the One Box Gun Club located southwest of Broken Bow.
Local volunteers, community supporters, and generous sponsors including Thomas Livestock Company and BD made this annual event a success. The challenge of COVID-19 made organizing and executing a safe hunt more difficult than in years past. Modified Friday evening cocktail parties, last minute team member substitutions, and limited attendance were only some of the obstacles. Despite the hurdles and high winds on Saturday, the event was successful, raising funds for scholarships and habitat preservation.
“Saturday mid-morning the winds came up and our bird numbers definitely showed that the birds were not happy with Mother Nature but the participants were very happy by the end of the weekend,” Franssen said. “Our guides always do outstanding, you know, they spend a lot of time with the participants that come in and we can’t thank those guys enough along with the dog handlers and scorekeepers. Our dog handlers come from all over.”
The Nebraska One Box Pheasant Hunt is proud to announce the 2020 HUNT RESULTS of the nation’s top pheasant hunt set in the beauty of the Nebraska Sandhills. In the new team division, the K1B TEAM takes first place, This team was welcomed to Custer County and graciously hosted by Jim and Deb Girardin and Logan and Renea Girardin.
Captain: Scott Cassels………………..Omaha, NE
Rick Lanoha…………………………………..Omaha, NE
David J. Miles………………………………….Omaha, NE
Christopher Loeffler…………………….Elkhorn, NE
David Hecker…………………………………Omaha, NE
Guides: Bob Allen & Mike Bell|
Dog Handler: Josh Robertson
Scorekeeper: Preston Peterson
With one box of shells, this five-member team scored 32 points shooting 6 pheasants and 1 quail to take first place. Local guides Bob Allen and Mike Bell, dog handler Josh Robertson, and scorekeeper Preston Peterson share the glory. The ROBERTSON TEAM came in second with 30 POINTS, and the all woman team, CHASING TAILS came in third with 25 POINTS.
The Competitive Past Shooters Team #1, captained by Dann Smith, took first place in their division. Team members included Ed Mullinix, Bob Sjuts, Chad Kucera, Russ Strehle, and Ken Robinson, while Jacob Holcomb and Levi Entz helped guide this successful team.
Since 1961, the Nebraska One Box Pheasant Hunt has been dedicated to the fellowship among sportsmen and supporting the creation of wildlife habitat. The One Box corporation is composed of local residents who aim to promote the fine hunt-ing and recreational opportunities so abundant in Central Nebraska. The group is instrumental in funding local scholarships, awarding approximately $12,500 annually to local scholars since 1981. Funds generated by this non-profit organization also maintains the One Box Gun Club and supports a successful youth shooting program with members competing in elite national competitions.
Franssen said it was an honor to serve as chairman during the event’s 60th year and appreciates the “giant group of volunteers, amazing board of directors, and overwhelming community support.”
“Our founder is Tom Varney, Jr. and a really neat thing about it is that’s my wife’s great-grandfather. Our board—we have a rotating chair position—so every year we have a different chairman and it was a real pleasure to serve the community and our participants this year. It’s a really memorable thing being the 60th chairman and I really thank the community for coming together and helping for 60 great years,” Franssen said.