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Chadron State Park celebrating 98th anniversary

CHADRON, Neb. – Chadron State Park, which became Nebraska’s first state park in 1921, will celebrate its 98th anniversary with its annual celebration Saturday, June 8.

New to the event this year is the Kiwanis Regatta canoe race, which is being moved from its usual date later in the summer. Registration begins at the park’s pond at 2 p.m.

The Run for the Hills foot races, which include a 5k, 10k and a shorter fun-run or walk over the rugged Pine Ridge terrain, will begin at the junction of the Black Hills Overlook at 8 a.m. Registration and course information may be found at pineridgetrailsraceseries.com.

There also will be a classic car show at the park’s baseball field and a wide variety of displays and activities at the park’s newly renovated Trading Post. The building received a new floor, counters and other features over the winter.

Other activities include live music, an opportunity for kids to dive for money, discounted horseback rides, free paddle boat rides, archery and pellet gun shooting, nature and blacksmithing displays, and a lunch of buffalo sloppy joe or hot dog lunch for just 98 cents – appropriate to the park’s age, just one penny more than it cost last year.

Among the displays will be the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s trailer that houses many impressive taxidermy mounts that were confiscated because of game violations.

The anniversary celebration is open to the public free of charge, but a Nebraska Park Entry Permit is required for vehicles.

Following is the schedule:

Run for the Hills races, 8 a.m.; Free paddle boat rides 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; Free pellet gun shoot, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Classic car show, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Naturalist activities, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Buffalo sloppy joe and hot dog lunches, Noon- 2 p.m.; Live music by Cheap Date, Noon-2 p.m.; Free archery card shoot (with prizes) 1-3 p.m.; Kiwanis Regatta, 2 p.m. registration, 2:30 p.m. race; Dive for money at the pool (ages 14 and under), 5 p.m.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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