Ode to Sesquicentennials past & future

Today’s Nevada Appeal is filled with Nevada Day coverage. Given that, let’s go off point here. But not far.

Whisk with me into the mists of yesteryear and imagineer with me toward the trappings of tomorrowtime. Nevada’s Sesquicentennial was just a year ago. Nevada 150 became a blueprint for a friend of mine named Jeff Searcey who is the chairman of the Nebraska Sesquicentennial Committee, for which he was preparing back then, and still is. The Cornhusker state, where I once lived, hits 150 in 2017. Nebraska became a state on March 1, 1867.

“One of the highlights,” said Searcey in a recent telephone interview, speaking of his state’s preparations and recalling his visit to Carson City, “still is just thinking about visiting Nevada.”

Searcey last year was in the Silver State to watch and learn how Nevada prepared for and pulled off its super Sesquicentennial of 2014.

I’ve known Searcey since the 1970s and he looked me up here last year. He said the visit to the state, as well as to Carson City and environs, was loads of fun and informative.

“Of course, the trip to (Lake) Tahoe didn’t hurt anything,” he added, chuckling. “You live in a beautiful area.” He called the state capital a “really cool community” and reminisced about the parade, the Carson Nugget Chili feed, and bluegrass music being played live there back then. Bluegrass is one of the things we have in common. That day we chatted about years gone by when we enjoyed it back in the Midwest.

During a recent phone conversation, Searcey recounted one of the big things he took away from his 2014 visit. He learned lengthy planning went into Nevada 150, but much of it was done in the final year, months, even days.

“That gives us hope,” he said. “It gave me encouragement that a lot can be done despite short time. That’s one of the things I took away.”

In addition, he took away the impression Nevadans are great people led by a fine governor in Brian Sandoval. “I also think Sandoval would be an outstanding vice president, president even,” he said.

Politics is one of the other things Searcey and I have in common, something I’ve known since I met him while living in Nebraska, and it always has been his avocation if not his vocation. He has become a real estate man and builder of houses as well, but his work on the Cornhusker state’s Sesquicentennial committee shows the urge to mix business with the pleasures of public life is still with him.

Whenever we chat, politics comes up. This last contact was no different, as his Sandoval remark demonstrates. So I had to tease him about Pete Ricketts, Nebraska’s conservative Republican governor, to check out his reaction. He didn’t take the bait, saying Ricketts was good to work with whether you agreed with him on issues or took a different tack.

In fact, Searcey said, Ricketts took the bull by the horns on Nebraska 150 preparations last April to hold a special Sesquicentennial workshop that brought in experts, including one from Nevada. That got Searcey back on his own experience here. “It was a really great experience,” he said.

He reiterated his understanding that as time speeds by going toward a Sesquicentennial event, you can pull out the stops and continue making progress despite the fact “there’s always a feeling that maybe you’re behind.”

Carson City folks know the drill. Nevada Day, Sesqui- or Sans-Sesquicentennial here, is big every year.


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