Wahoo natives complete journey to visit all 531 towns in Nebraska

Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 4:02 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - After more than two months of nonstop travel, a pair of college students from Wahoo achieved their goal of visiting all 531 towns in Nebraska. Austin Schneider and Seth Varner ended their journey where it all began, in their hometown of Wahoo.

The trip was comprised of hundreds of towns, thousands of miles, and one incredible story.

“To put it in a word, I guess, adventurous,” Seth Varner said.

“Exhilarating, that’s another good word to use,” Austin Schneider said. “It’s been a lot, but it’s been fun.”

From Nebraska’s smallest town, Monowi, with a population of 1, to the biggest city, Omaha, Varner and Schneider can say they’ve seen it all.

“We’ve traveled about 9,000 miles over the course of the last two and a half months. including our eight day trip the other day was 3,500 miles and 198 towns,” Varner said.

In addition to visiting all 531 towns, the pair also visited all 93 county courthouses.

After exploring Wahoo and checking the final courthouse off their list, the boys were given a warm Wahoo welcome home, with a parade through downtown and keys to the city.

“The positivity they have invoked in all the small towns across Nebraska has been outstanding,” said Candi Johnston, a board member for Wahoo Chamber of Commerce. “Just a great representation of our town, and I’m just really glad they’re from Wahoo.”

Both Varner and Schneider said they will take something different away from their experience.

“Just respect Nebraska,” Schneider said. “Before this trip started, I hadn’t even heard of half these towns, but once you get there, you can really learn a lot from each place.”

Varner added the hospitality across the state will be the most memorable part for him.

“People were just so nice, and it seemed like in every town there would be someone who wanted to pay for our gas, pay for our meal, or just say hi and chat with us,” Varner said.

As for their favorite stops along the way, Schneider said Chadron, because he enjoyed the state park and the scenery. Varner opted for a city on the other side of the state. He said Nebraska City, for the Missouri River and because there is a lot of history in the town.

Since they finished their trip ahead of schedule, Varner and Schneider said they plan to spend their last few weeks of summer back at work. Their boss at the local Dairy Queen jokingly put “Congratulations Visit531 Nebraska, now come back to work,” on the store’s sign.

They aren’t sure what the set up will look like because of COVID-19, but the pair will head back to college in the fall, where they will be roommates.

“I think they’ll keep surprising us and I don’t think this is the last you’ll hear from them,” Johnston said.

Varner and Schneider said they are planning to create a book, sharing some of the Nebraska history they learned along the way as well as detailing their adventures.

Copyright 2020 KOLN. All rights reserved.

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