The annual Royal Celebration began at noon on Saturday with the 44-mile tractor ride. Over to tractors joined the parade, including a Ford driven by Royal's oldest homeowner, Jim Haskin.
At 5 p.m., just as the tractors rolled in from the ride, the festivities continued with the annual BBQ, featuring the Ober's homemade BBQ sauce. A steady stream of people went through line to enjoy the pulled pork sandwiches and root beer floats.
The celebration ended with a movie after dark, which played downtown.
Check out the photos below and don't miss out on the fun next year!
A Pierce man was killed in an accident near the Antelope and Knox County lines Saturday morning.
According to the Nebraska State Patrol, 32-year-old Dana Ziegenbein died as a result of a one vehicle accident about a half-mile west of the junction with 522 Avenue on 872 Road, or about 4 miles northeast of Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park.
The accident happened just before 7 a.m. According to the Nebraska State Patrol, Ziegenbein was eastbound when he left the road and struck a bridge. His vehicle left the road again, rolled multiple times before coming to rest in a tree-line, pinning Ziegenbein beneath his truck.
The accident remains under investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol.
It's time for Royal's annual celebration!
Don't miss out on the fun, happening Saturday, July 16. The day will kick off with the 44-mile tractor ride through the North Country. Sign up begins at 10:30 a.m. from the village park and the ride leaves at 12:00 p.m. from the village park.
The pork BBQ will be served 5:00-8:00 p.m. at the park. Later in the evening, a free old fashioned out door movie will be shown downtown. Residents are also encouraged to contribute something for the time capsule.
Call Gary Ober at 893-2880 or 402-340-0170 for more details.
St. Peter Lutheran Church Pastor Marcel Kohlmeyer spoke on Monday morning for Royal's Memorial Day service, reminding the community of the man who sacrificed all for their freedom.
The Clearwater-Orchard band played the National Anthem and Battle Hymn of the Republic, and Mallory Cooper played "Taps."
The Orchard American Legion Post provided the color and honor guard.
A controlled burn along the Antelope and Knox county lines on Wednesday led to back-to-back days of calling in the Orchard and Royal fire departments for assistance.
Ryan Crumly of Page said his parents, Ron and Jeanne Crumly, annually burn cedar trees and grass off of one pasture each year. This year, the pasture located about 7 miles north of Royal and 1 mile west - near 870th Rd and 518th Ave - was set to burn about 200 acres.
Crumly said they started at the road and worked their way south. With several people assisting, everything was going as planned until the fire started going further east and moved onto land owned by Norma Morrill.
"We fought it for 15 minutes, and then we called the fire department," Crumly said.
Firefighters from Orchard and Royal responded around 3:30 p.m. Local residents and Central Valley Ag also assisted. Crumly said the fire was under control within about 20-30 minutes.
About 60-80 acres burned that was not planned, located to the north of the planned area. The burned area looks larger than that because of the 200 acres that was planned to be burned.
Crumly said the area was checked often Wednesday night and regularly on Thursday; however, the wind caused a couple of hot spots in the trees to flare up just after noon Thursday that led to the fire department's returning again.
With the wind expected to blow up to 20 mph out of the south-southeast overnight, Crumly said the area will continue to be heavily monitored Thursday night and Friday morning. Rain is possibly Saturday morning through Wednesday.
A Royal native will compete in Kentucky after qualifying at the 2016 NHRA semi-final championships.
Competing on the Husker Equestrian team, Cassidy Curtis placed fourth in as an Advanced Rider in Team Horsemanship
Curtis is the daughter of Corey and Tanya Curtis of Royal. She is attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in Animal Science.
The Husker Equestrian team placed third overall at the Illinois Semi-Finals at Black Hawk College held over the weekend.
This will be the eighth consecutive year Husker Equestrian has qualified for Nationals as a team. They will compete at the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) National Championships in Lexington on May 5-8, 2016
The Royal Volunteer Fire Department was called back to the scene of a fire Saturday to put out hot spots from a blaze that burned 80 acres the day before.
Fire Chief Gary Ober said six firefighters and three rigs returned to the fire located one mile north and 3/4 miles west of Royal at about 11:45 a.m. Saturday and spent about 90 minutes soaking the area.
"We got a call about some hot spots, so we went back out to put them out," Ober said. "And with the conditions being like they are - dry with no humidity - I wouldn't be surprised to have to go back out again later today."
Winds on Saturday afternoon were 16 mph out of the south/southeast.
The fire on Friday was contained quickly thanks to the Orchard and Royal departments receiving mutual aid from Brunswick, Creighton, Neligh and Ewing. They also received assistance from Central Valley Ag, along with several farming operators. Ober said local farmers quickly brought tractors, discs and payloaders to the scene to help contain the fire.
Ober said the fire started on land owned by Shane Schwager and jumped the fence line into Bob Kraft's corn field, resulting in about 80 acres of stalks and CRP land being destroyed.
"Some trees were destroyed, but no buildings or equipment was damaged," Ober said. "And nobody was hurt, so everything worked out ok."
Ober said he looked back at the burn permit issued Schwager in December, and confirmed it was for that property. Ober said he's fairly certain that despite trees on the property being burned three months earlier, a spark from that burn is the likely cause of Friday's blaze.
"The conditions were right to burn the trees last December. If they weren't, the burn permit wouldn't have been issued. I looked back at the permit this morning, and that burn was fine," Ober said. "The conditions yesterday were just perfect to pull up an ember and spark the fire. It's happened many, many times that a burn months ago leads to a fire like this."
Ober said he encourages people who burn during the wet winter months to bury the remaining pieces as to not start a fire in the spring.
Antelope County was issued a red flag fire weather warning on Friday by the National Weather Service in effect until 6 p.m. due to the wind and low relative humidity.
On Friday with winds gusting up 30 mph, the fire northwest of Royal spread quickly. Ober said he and Orchard Fire Chief Duane Risinger quickly made the decision to call for mutual aid. With the new communication center at the Antelope County Law Enforcement Center, Ober said just one phone call to the dispatcher took care of all notifications.
"We have great communities around us with great volunteers," Ober said. "This was teamwork. Everybody responded and helped us get the fire out. If it would have been left to just Orchard and Royal, that fire would have ended up in Knox County."
The Royal Fire Department currently has 16 members, many of whom are aging. Ober said it's becoming increasingly more challenging to recruit younger members to the squad, although they're vital to protecting the rural community.
"We need more members," he said. "We need younger members, who can help in situations like these. We depend on volunteers, and we just don't have the numbers. That's why it's so important that our communities work together like they did yesterday. That's teamwork right there."
Six different fire departments responded to a fire on Friday afternoon northwest of Royal.
The fire burned on several pieces of land owned by multiple landowners and even crossed the road.
Departments from Brunswick, Royal, Orchard, Neligh, Ewing and Creighton responded.
Firefighters remain on scene putting out hotspots.
Orchard Fire Chief Duane Risinger said the fire remains under investigation.
Antelope County was issued a red flag fire weather warning by the National Weather Service this afternoon that remains in effect until 6 p.m. for wind and low relative humidity.
With winds blowing 15-25 miles per hour with gusts up to 30 and humidity as low as 18%, any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly.