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Uniting the Husker pride

August 25, 2018

What began as a tradition among five friends grew into a business to provide community members with a mode of transportation to football games and events.

The Husker Bus of Columbus has been in business for 14 years. Columbus native Richard Hirschbrunner and four of his friends, who are avid Husker football fans, would drive in separate cars to Lincoln to attend games when the idea to purchase a bus came about. It not only allowed them to travel in one group but included community members wanting to attend the game, as well.

“We found a niche and we are trying to serve the people because it’s a safe ride down and a safe ride back,” said Hirschbrunner, co-owner of Husker Bus of Columbus. “It gives them the ability to celebrate, have fun, tailgate and still get home safe (especially for those wanting to drink).”

Each Husker Bus driver has a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and undergoes a screening. These drivers, including Kim Schaefer, monitor the buses during the trips and tailgates.

“The people that ride it, I have just as much fun as them,” Schaefer said.

Hirschbrunner said business has taken off, allowing owners to make numerous upgrades. There are currently two Husker buses in service, one is tailored to transport community members to football games in Lincoln while the other transports customers throughout the year to events like weddings, birthday and bachelorette parties. However, when football season comes to an end, both buses are in service for events.

“I think there’s a need, especially for weddings and stuff in the winter time,” Hirschbrunner said. “So we are filling that void in there for parties and weddings where we can still pick them up from a church to a reception and they are in an enclosed environment where we can control the environment, whether its heat or air-conditioned.”

Owners have also added a flat-screen television with surround sound speakers and satellite capabilities to a bus, which has its own power generator for tailgaters to watch games while enjoying food like chili and chicken wings. Each participant is encouraged to bring a dish to share.

Hirschbrunner admitted that business was slow last year but is picking up this year because of new Nebraska head coach Scott Frost leading the team.

“It’s picked up tremendously already,” said Hirschbrunner, noting customers have started making reservations to attend games this season.

Each bus can accommodate up to 24 people per trip and 50 people for the tailgate. With the new addition of a barbecue connoisseur, who has planned out the menu for tailgates throughout this year’s football season, participants will be able to enjoy a wider array of food.

The bus arrives four hours before each game, parked in the vicinity of The Railyard. Participants will have the opportunity to explore Lincoln’s Haymarket area, as well as partake in the festivities at The Railyard.

Moving forward, members of Husker Bus of Columbus said they hope to see the business expand with larger vehicles and to serve clientele outside of Columbus.

“I think we offer a pretty good service,” said Jeff Kallweit, who mainly oversees maintenance schedules of the vehicles for Husker Bus of Columbus. “We are willing to go anywhere to fit the needs.”

Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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