The Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway was recognized recently by the National Scenic Byway Foundation. The Byway was honored with the “Leveraging Resources Award” which recognized the “Polar Bear Tank Race” which is organized by Mitch and Patty Glidden of Mullen, owners of the Sandhills Motel. The event is used as a fund raising event for the Nebraska byway. The idea for the fundraising event was created in October of 2007. The primary purpose of the event was described this way “to put heads in beds during slack tourism season.” The second purpose was as a fundraiser for the Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway. A soup cook-off and winners announced on the night before the race has been an integral part since it began. Besides Glidden’s motel, participants are booked at the Roadside Inn, 30 minutes away in Thedford, Nebraska thus helping both communities along the byway. The tanks used are like those used by the ranchers to hold water for their livestock. Teams decorate themselves and their tanks adding to the fun. Linda Teahon, president of the Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway, told KCNI/KBBN radio that this is a very big award.
The Gliddens have gifted over $80,000 to the scenic byway through the years as a result of the Polar Bear Tank Race.