NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.
Issue link: http://mag.outdoornebraska.gov/i/768942
54 NEBRASKALAND • JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017 B utch Springgate is the grand champion of Nebraska's biggest scavenger hunt. If you've driven on a Nebraska highway, you've played it yourself. But while you might have passed one or two of Nebraska's historic markers, or even stopped by a couple dozen of them, Springgate has you beat. He's been to more than 500. On a motorcycle. "We like to say that the motorcycle is closer to the horse and buggy days because you aren't in an air-conditioned car, and you get to travel the back roads," Springgate said. "So we make a point of doing that." Springgate, who lives in Fremont, has spent the last eight years visiting historical markers on his Yamaha motorcycle. Sometimes he brings along friends, but he's visited many markers alone. The only markers he hasn't seen are the handful that local organizers and the National State Historical Society have put up since last summer. He'll visit those this summer and fall. Springgate's first marker was the Massacre Canyon marker near Trenton in Hitchcock County, which he visited in late 2008. Springgate is a quality control technician for 3M in Valley, so using long weekends, and at the longest, nine-day trips, his quest has been continuous except for a year he took off because of shoulder surgery. He has logged 20,000 miles of riding, and his longest historical marker ride was 1,500 miles. Springgate's dedication to record-keeping and staying organized has made his summer-centered hobby last all year long. "My winter activity is putting everything into books and getting things updated," he said. Springgate meticulously documents all of his rides and subsequent adventures. He has a growing collection of binders with photos of every single marker, along with where and when they were taken. He also has a map with black dots for the locations of every marker and silver dots for every marker he's visited. But the photos in the binders don't show the adventures that lead to a successful marker find. One of the worst roads Springgate Riding Through History By Kylie Kinley, Nebraska State Historical Society Springgate's binders of markers. 54 NEBRASKALAND • JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2017 On a motorcycle. "We like to say that the quality control techn Valley, so using lon at the longest, nine quest has been con for a year he took shoulder surgery. 20,000 miles of r longest historical 1,500 miles. Springgate's d record-keeping organized has m summer-center year long. "My winter putting every and getting th he said. Springgat documents and subseq He has a g collection photos of marker, a and whe taken. H map wit the loca marker for eve visited But the b show that succ find O roa Springgate's binders of markers. PHOTOS BY ERIC FOWLER