CENTRAL CITY, Neb. — It's dome sweet dome for the five-time national champion Husker Volleyball Team, and as they arrive in Central City, leaders feel like the community is playing at a championship level.
Friday the same court surface used by the Huskers made its way to Central City High School.
“To be able to see them walk into your gym, your house, your community, that doesn't come around very often,” said Superintendent Jeff Jensen.
The school's new dome just opened. Across town, the hospital is new and housing is going up while entrepreneurs open new shops. It's not the same town Noah Luebbe grew up in.
“I still remember those days, the atmosphere was pretty stagnant,” he said.
Luebbe is one of the owners of the local Runza but farming is his life. The addition of an ethanol plant 20 years ago started a turnaround that now sees a community reaching new heights.
“Someone that was born and raised here, raising a family, very involved with community and school district, it's awesome,” he said. “Hard to find words.”
“I would argue our school district and community right now are the highest they've ever been in terms of the success our school has had and community's success,” Jensen said.
Nebraska is a volleyball state and Courtney Root is ready to welcome fans.
“The Chamber's been busy with calls and e-mails from all over the state,” she said.
HUSKER VOLLEYBALL TAKES ON WICHITA STATE IN CENTRAL CITY AT BISON DOME
Whether volleyball or attracting new business, community leaders say it takes a unified effort.
“Got a lot of great people in the right places making the right decisions,” Luebbe said.
Root runs Magnolias Boutique and is active with the Chamber of Commerce.
“We are very determined to not let our town die and see potential,” she said. “There are lots of hidden gems in Central City.”
Jensen said there are only two options for rural communities and those that do nothing he says are dying.
“This town right now is making the choice to grow,” he said.
WELL ROUNDED: CENTRAL CITY OPENS NEW DOME
As the iconic red N graces the court, Central City has earned the right to host the Huskers.
“Having Nebraska volleyball is the seal of approval of what our town is doing right now,” Jensen said.
The stands at the Bison Dome are normally packed with green but for at least one day it's all about Big Red.
The Huskers faces Wichita State in an exhibition match Saturday afternoon in Central City where tickets sold out in 52 minutes.