Red Cloud Rising: 2021 Year in Review

Red Cloud Rising: 2021 Year in Review

December 30, 2021

Red Cloud Rising: 2021 Year in Review

Nationally, 2021 was not a great year. Red Cloud did not escape its share of sorrow related to the pandemic and other tragedies, but nevertheless emerged from the calamity stronger than ever, making significant progress on several important projects and laying the groundwork for what promises to be a transformational decade for the community--especially its downtown. Keep reading for a quick recap of some of the year's highlights and help us celebrate the community's 150th anniversary! 

January saw a raging wildfire ravage rural parts of Webster County near Guide Rock followed quickly by a winter storm that dumped 10 inches of snow or more in the area. Bruce Springsteen visited the area in February, leading to Joe & Deb Shuck's front porch and the Republican River Bridge being featured in Jeep commercials that aired during Super Bowl. Springsteen visited the Center of the U.S. chapel just south of town, near Lebanon, KS. February was also remarkable for the sustained record cold temperatures, that plummeted to -33F on the 17th. In March, it was announced that the YWCA School of Dance and the Webster County Community Hospital's Repeat Street Thrift Store would move into the remaining retail bays in the National Willa Cather Center. 

Corbin Hoit and Cristina Rodriguez were named Prom King and Queen in April and the event was held at the Brader Barn near Pauline, NE (it will be at the Red Cloud Opera House in 2022!). Juan's Bar & Grill opened earlier in the month, in the former South 40 location. May saw the return of the Red Cloud High School Alumni Weekend & Banquet along with a Red Cloud Community Fund Garden Party at the Kaley House. RCHS Graduation also took place in the auditorium after taking place on a flatbed trailer in 2020. Carson McCleary won the Gold medal in the 300 meter hurdles in the Class D State Championships in Omaha. The 66th Spring Willa Cather Conference took place in June, featuring a hybrid mix of online and in-person events. Radhika Jones, editor of Vanity Fair magazine, was the keynote speaker. Tour de Nebraska visited the community in mid-June, camping in the City Park during the hottest day of the year with temperatures reaching 105F. 

Brad & Andrea Frey neared completion of work on the old Standard Oil/Stockaid Liquor store location in July. Eventually, the Frey's work would provide space for 4 businesses in the community, including Abundant Life Honey, Republican Valley U-Haul Rentals, Silver Spur, and Andrea's accounting office. Plans for Fat Fox's to setup their new mobile business were also announced with a probably February 2022 opening. The Red Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated "150 Years of Red Cloud Proud" during its Street Car Days celebration during the first full weekend of August, after taking 2020 off. Mike and Barb Kenny were named Grand Marshalls of the Street Car Days Parade while their son Matt and daughter-in-law Casey took over the family business, rechristening it Kenny's Hardware & Home Center (see the Get to Know feature below). Red Cloud Animal Health was named the Outstanding Business of the Year at the 71st Farmers & Merchants Banquet which was held on the 20th anniversary of September 11th and honored first responders and those whom have served in the military. Kolton Kucera and Celia McDole were named Homecoming King and Queen at RCHS. 

October was a particularly busy month with the community receiving over $800K in grants for various projects, the Red Cloud Community Fund raising nearly $24K for community projects (see story below), and Kyle Klein being named the Volunteer of the Year by the Nebraska Chapter of the AARP. The biggest story may have been the Warrior football team, however, as they had one of the best seasons in school history, surging as high as #3 in the state before falling to Pawnee City in the playoffs in an absolute heartbreaker. In November, the Red Cloud Community Fund hosted a Downtown Revitalization tour that showcased rehabilitation work going on at 6 different buildings downtown and detailed plans for 2 additional buildings. The Chamber's 13th annual Shopping Extravaganza brought life to downtown Red Cloud during the evening hours of Nov. 23rd and helped showcase the arrival of Twisted Petal Too, a new flower shop and bakery. Read the rest of this newsletter for a recap of December events--including Red Cloud legend Ardis Yost's 90th birthday!!! 

We can't wait to make new memories in 2022!