Everyone knows in their Big Red hearts that Nebraskans are the best at certain things.
The best at being home to the world’s fourth-richest man (hint: rhymes with “Schmarren Schmuffet”). The best at making small talk about the weather. And, of course, the best at establishing a state-sanctioned meat pocket.
And don’t forget: We’re also the best at modesty. We are so good at being humble. I can’t even tell you how humble we are omg.
And Nebraska is the best at a lot of other things you might not know about. And also the biggest and the heaviest, the tallest and the longest, the fastest and the youngest-oldest.
A search through the Guinness World Records database yielded all manner of notable Nebraska records. We’ve written about a few of them recently (like the big ol’ Arby’s sign in Nebraska’s smallest town). But there were quite a few I’d never heard of, some of them fascinating. And, you know, I wanted to share them because sharing interesting information is my job.
Here, then, are 22 world records held by Nebraska (or Nebraskans).
Note: Records were verified by Guinness World Records. In many cases, I filled in a few details through previous stories in The World-Herald archives.
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World’s tallest mohawk
Record date: Nov. 14, 2008
Holder: Eric Hahn
Hahn’s mohawk measured in at 68.58 centimeters (or 27 inches), the result of seven years without a haircut, two cans of hairspray and two and a half hours of preparation with two Omaha hairdressers. The following year, Hahn finally got a haircut.
Widest path of tornado damage
Record date: May 22, 2004
The Hallam tornado’s damage path was estimated at 2.49 miles wide. All but a few of the town’s 150 homes were severely damaged or destroyed. One person died.
A World-Herald story from the time read: “Railroad cars were stripped of their wheels. Trees were completely debarked. Debris was deposited in drifts. Boards were impaled in the ground at speeds of 200 miles per hour.”
Longest golf shot kneeling
Record date: July 20, 2014
Holder: Mike Leising
Liesing hit the ball 224 yards, and it only took him one try.
Tallest structure built with toy timber logs
Record verified: April 13, 2013
Holder: City of Lincoln
Lincoln used 10,036 Lincoln Logs to build a 12-foot-4-inch-tall replica of the Nebraska State Capitol.
Longest marathon square dance calling
Record date: May 27, 2000
Holder: Dale Muehlmeier
Muehlmeier called a square dance for 28 hours for an American Cancer Society benefit in a Wal-Mart parking lot from May 26 to May 27, 2000. Aside from being a little hoarse after his record calling, Muehlmeier felt fine. In fact, he felt good enough to square dance for more than two hours after setting the record.
Largest hand-drawn maze
Record date: Jan. 19, 2018
Holder: Eric J. Eckert
Eckert drew a 1,072.8-square-foot maze, shattering his previous record, 450-square-feet. Eckert has been drawing mazes since he was 7.
Longest line of tacos
Record date: April 21, 2017
Holder: Chadron State College and Creative Dining Services
Thirty-four dining workers and 24 volunteers made a line of 2,017 soft-shell tacos, all later eaten.
Fastest time to load and buckle up in a car by a team of four
Record date: July 21, 2014
Holders: David Huggins, Larron Dave Waller, David Anthony Gray and Casey Allen Busenbark
It took them 6.2 seconds. The record was achieved at a Dillon’s Auto.
Largest image built with interlocking plastic bricks
Record date: May 27, 2017
Holder: John Lang
Lang, a Westside High School grad, wrangled together enough volunteers to build a 1,813.52-square-foot American flag out of toy plastic bricks in the parking lot of the Canfield Plaza Shopping Center, near 85th Street and West Center Road.
Overall, it took about 200 volunteers and 680,000 bricks to make the flag.
On Aug. 31, Lang will lead another big build, making a 60-by-30-foot Nebraska Cornhusker logo out of red and white Mega Construx toy bricks. The build will be in the Meier Commons outside the Student Union on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus.
Longest Pinewood Derby track
Record date: Oct. 15, 2016
Holder: Boy Scouts of America Mid-America Council
The track (more than 1,819 feet long, was built by the Boy Scouts at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park. That’s longer than the height of four combined Nebraska State Capitol buildings — sowers included.
The Pinewood Derby car, provided by Glenn Jewkes, completed its run in 1 minute, 16.7 seconds.
Largest collection of Muppets memorabilia
Record date: Oct. 1, 2017
Holder: Rhett Safranek
Nebraska teen Safranek has a collection that consists of 1,841 items. He started collecting after his parents gave him a “Best of The Muppets Show” VHS when he was younger. The items in the collection run the gamut from McDonald’s collectors toys to autographed items from Muppet puppeteers.
Zoo with largest indoor swamp
Holder: Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium
At a quarter acre, the zoo’s swamp holds 160,000 gallons of water.
The Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium also has the world’s largest nocturnal exhibit, Kingdoms of the Night, which is made up of more than 42,000 square feet. It opened in 2003.
And the zoo has the largest indoor desert. The Desert Dome is made up of 84,000 square feet of desert on two levels.
Largest advertising poster
Record date: June 13, 2018
Arby’s made the ad, more than 311,000 square feet, to announce its transition to Coca-Cola products. They chose Monowi as the location because, according to the U.S. census, it’s the smallest town in America, with a population of 1. The last remaining resident is 84-year-old Elsie Eiler.
Largest finger puppet collection
Record date: Aug. 17, 2014
Holder: Janet Warner
The collection consists of 359 unique finger puppets, which Wagner has been collecting for more than 30 years.
Heaviest mammoth tusks
Discovered: April 1915
Location: found near Campbell
Holder: University of Nebraska Museum
The tusks have a combined weight of 498 pounds and each measures more than 13 feet in length.
Youngest person named ‘Oldest living person’
This one is kind of complicated.
So, in December 1956, Anne Marie Carsterson, a Nebraska woman and Danish immigrant, became the oldest living person at age 107 years and 327 days.
Guinness’ record listing states:
“As of March 20, 2017, based on the most recent verification of longevity record claims received by Guinness World Records since 1955 and claims researched by the Gerontology Research Group among the world’s population of people born after 1840, the record remains unbeaten. Carsterson, who had emigrated from Denmark to the U.S. in 1869, lived to be 109 years, 65 days, passing away on March 30, 1958, in Nebraska. Improved life expectancy in parts of the world, along with a larger population base and improved access to birth and death data means that Carsterson, who acceded the title at age 107 years, 327 days, wouldn’t even be in the top 600 oldest living persons in 2017.”
Most marching bands in a parade
Record date: Oct. 5, 1996
Location: Grand Island
Holder: the Hastings College Band, the Harvest of Harmony Alumni Band and 128 high school bands, leading to a total of 8,230 participants
Overall, 130 marching bands took part in the annual Harvest of Harmony Parade.
Largest collection of bumper stickers
Record date: April 7, 2009
Holder: Bill Heermann
Heermann amassed 4,131 bumper stickers, having started his collection in 1984, when he was in eighth grade.
Largest rail freight yard
Location: North Platte
The Bailey Yard, operated by Union Pacific Railroad, has a total length of 8 miles and covers more than 2,800 acres. The yard has 200 separate tracks totaling 315 miles.
Greatest concentration of insects
Record date: July 20-30, 1874
Holder: A swarm of Rocky Mountain locusts
The swarm covered an estimated 198,600 square miles as they flew over the state. That’s an estimated 12.5 trillion insects weighing a combined 50 billion pounds. During the scourge, the insects were commonly referred to as grasshoppers.
Longest straight hole-in-one
Record date: Oct. 7, 1965
Holder: Robert Mitera
Mitera got his hole-in-one, a 447-yard drive, on the 10th hole of the Miracle Hills golf course.
Longest runaway train
OK, so Nebraska kind of shares this one.
On March 26, 1884, strong winds got eight coal cars moving in Akron, Colorado, eventually onto the main line. According to Guinness, the runaway cars were going speeds up to 66 miles per hour. In Benkelman, Nebraska, 95 miles from Akron, a freight engine gave chase and coupled with the cars, bringing them under control. Overall, the runaway train traveled about 100 miles.