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Polar Bear Tank Race (PBTR) #12

Mullen – Putting heads in beds during slack tourist season was what prompted Mitch Glidden, along with his wife Patty, to organize a winter race in stock tanks on the Middle Loup River by Mullen.

The festivities begin on the first Friday of March with a soup cookoff followed by the actual race on Saturday. Brenda Masek, of Purdum, was invited to emcee both nights, but due to cold and calving, she missed handing out awards on Saturday evening.

This was only the third or fourth time that the racers had to don full winter gear. “If I fall over, I will need help getting up with all the layers I have on,” explained Shirley ‘Mimi’ Axline, who with her husband Harold, have come every year from Dorchester, NE. The couple have been married for over 50 years and usually bring others from their community, but they were the only two to brave the cold. They raced the first year, but now prefer leisurely floating along, although they admitted to using the oars provided a little more than usual.

The tanks are the actual steel tanks seen in Sandhills pastures watering the cattle. “It is easier to pound out dents when tanks hit trees than to try to plug holes,” explained Mitch when he first began his tanking business.



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