Mr. Firecracker and Miss Independence

Anvil Firing at the 4th of July Celebration in Seward, Nebraska

Mr. Firecracker and Miss Independence

The July 4th Mr. Firecracker and Miss Independence Essay contest is sponsored by the Seward Rotary Club. Phil Bangert is the Project Chairman.  Essays are judged by a volunteer panel of members of the Seward Rotary Club.  The Rotary Club has sponsored this project since 1967.

The students are honored at the Chamber Kick-Off Luncheon, read their essays there and are also guests with their families at a Rotary Luncheon and read their essays at the Rotary Club meeting.  They attend the Governor’s Reception on July 4, ride in the Grand parade and read their essays at the Bandshell on July 4.  They all receive a trophy and bag of fireworks and their photo and essay are printed in the local, Special Edition of the Seward Independent.  Their essays are also placed on the Seward July 4 website.

2023 Miss Independence and Mr. Firecracker

Wilder Nix
Mr. Firecracker

St. John Lutheran School – 3rd Grade

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Why I Like To Live In Seward

Seward is a great place to live because of the people, the places, and the fun events that happen around the holidays. Here are some of the reasons I like living in Seward: 

One of my most favorite things about living in Seward is the Fourth of July celebration. I like sitting in my backyard and watching the fireworks in every direction. I love the loud booms. My family and all our neighbors light off fireworks and it is very fun to be together. 

I also like going to the parade and gathering candy and playing games and watching the people go by. I like watching pole vaulting and the fire trucks. The Fourth of July in Seward makes me feel happy and excited and proud of my country and where I live.

Another reason I like living in Seward is all of the fun places you can go. We go to the Rivoli and get popcorn and a snack pack and watch good movies. I like my church and school, St. John, because my friends go there and I like the teachers and fun activities there. In winter, I like the Concordia sledding hill because there’s so much snow and you can slide down the steep hill really fast. I like meeting my friends there and sledding together. I like going to my friends’ houses because we play games, play catch, and it’s fun to ride scooters to each other’s houses. 

I like going to the swimming pool on a hot sunny day because it’s cool and refreshing. Downtown I love getting ice cream, looking at toys and books at Chapters, and going to my mom’s photography studio and helping her. 

Seward is a really good place to visit but a better place to live. You should be happy if you’re coming here, especially on holidays. If you’re my age, you could be my friend if you decide to move here. I hope you’re able to come to Seward!

Charles Wake
Mr. Firecracker – Runner-Up

St. John Lutheran School – 4th Grade

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Why I Like to Live in Seward

Seward is a great place to live!

One of the many great things about Seward is that Seward is the Fourth of July City of Nebraska.  I love setting off fireworks.  Seward’s celebration is the best I have ever seen.

Seward also has a historic downtown.  The beautiful public library has many good books to read.  I also like to shop at all the nice shops here.  Seward‘s restaurants have delicious food to eat.

I appreciate the police, firemen and medical workers who keep us safe and healthy.  The people of Seward are very friendly and nice and they take care of our town.

Seward has a very nice swimming pool and I’m excited for the new Wellness Center!

I love Seward!

Sadie Owens
Miss Independence

St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School – 4th Grade

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Why I Like to Live in Seward

I love Seward! I was very lucky to have been born here, and I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be! Here are just a few of the many reasons of why I love living in Seward.

Seward has very nice schools and amazing teachers that I get to work with during the school year. And when I’m not in school I can play on the schools’ playgrounds with all my friends. Every year I get to learn new things and my teachers are always there to help me do just that. I don’t know where I’d be without them. My friends are also always ready to help me.

Seward is also filled with really nice people that I know I can trust and rely on. Everywhere I go I’m greeted by a smiling face! There are amazing people that all want to be your friends. I have lived here my whole life and I have made way more friends than I can count.

It is also very safe here in Seward. The firefighters and police work very hard to make our community a safe place. I always feel very safe when I’m riding my bike or when I’m in a public area.

There are so many fun things to do in Seward too! First of all, there’s the trail. I love riding my bike on it with my family. And there are little paths in the woods! I like to stop and hike around on the paths when I ride on the trail. Secondly, there’s the pool! I love going to the pool with my family and friends. My favorite thing at the pool is the high dive! I used to be afraid to go off it, but now it’s my favorite part. A dip in the pool always cools me off! Lastly, there’s the movie theater! It’s lots of fun to go watch a movie there! I like to pick out my candy and find a good spot to sit, but of course my favorite part of going to the movie theater is watching the movie!

I also love that Seward is Nebraska’s 4th of July City. First, I like to look at the cool old cars. Another one of my favorite things to do is watching the dancers in the band shell while eating a funnel cake. Then I enjoy watching the exciting parade downtown before heading home. After a long day, I like setting of fireworks with my family before watching Seward’s firework show.

To me, Seward is just the right size. It’s big enough for it to have fun things to do, schools, parks or playgrounds, and a variety of stores. Yet, the fact that Seward is small, is also really nice. Since it’s so small I know a lot of people that live here, and I can ride my bike to a lot of places around town.

Seward is an amazing place to live. It is full of history! I think that Seward is awesome in every way possible.

Mya Boggs
Miss Independence – Runner-Up

Seward Elementary – 4th Grade

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Why I Like to Live in Seward

Seward, Nebraska is a wonderful place to stay or visit! I have lived in Seward my whole life and I can guarantee you it is such a great place. I’m going to take you on a quick tour around Seward, so buckle up and get excited!!!

On our first stop, let’s visit some of the fun activities for kids and adults to do. You can play sports at the Plum Creek Sports Complex, watch movies at the Rivoli, listen to music at the Seward Bandshell, go bowling at Sparetime, enjoy swimming at the Seward Pool, attend programs at the Seward Memorial Library, and many more. We have a huge Fourth of July Celebration including a parade, fireworks, food trucks, and crafts around the square. Another yearly event is the Christmas festival along with a parade and our annual play at the Olde Glory Theater.

Next on our trip, let’s drop by some of the local businesses and restaurants, such as Chapters Books and Gifts, Cafe on The Square, and my family’s shaved ice business, B’s Sweet Freeze. Some generous organizations that you’ll come across on our tour today include Seward Cross Makers, Blue Valley Community Action, and Meals on Wheels. A few unique attractions you will discover in Seward are the Nebraska National Guard Museum, the Bartels Rock Museum at Concordia University, and the world’s largest time capsule. Seward is also home to many terrific schools and churches.

I think Seward is such a cheerful and vibrant place. If you drive by the Alps Bark Park you can see a beautiful mural of dogs that was painted by my dad on the side of the building. You can see another one of his murals if you go through the Jimmy Johns drive-thru downtown. These murals add such a colorful touch to our town. I love it that the people of Seward support and encourage creativity and the arts!

What I love the very most about Seward is the loving and caring community. The people of Seward are always there for each other in times of need. It is a town that values God and family. Our town is also full of friendly teachers, pastors, neighbors, doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers, friends and family. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else but here!!!

I hope you enjoyed your tour around the remarkable town of Seward Nebraska!!!

Previous Winners

Winner from previous years are listed in order of Mr. Firecracker, Mr. Firecracker Runner-Up, Miss Independence and Miss Independence Runner-Up.

2023 – Wilder Nix, Charles Wake, Sadie Owens, Mya Boggs
2022 – Michael Kolterman, Nathan Royuk, Mallory Miller, Annabelle Stellwagen
2021 – Nolan Brashear, Aaron Royuk, Sawyer Wollenburg, Ava Nitz
2020 – Michael Frisbie, Darien Sugden, Carly Kolterman, Jordyn Samuels
2019 – Quinton Moore, Henry Wake, Kennedy Dominy, Samantha Quist
2018 – Ethan Boggs, Layne Luebbe, Lily Brashear, Ayda Metschke
2017 – Lawson Luebbe, Connor Sveeggen, Molly Marroquin, Makayla Mumaugh
2016 – Conner Matzke, Matthew Schultz, Noelle Geidel, Ella Mohnike
2015 – Noah Fields, Braeden Dey, Julya Metschke, Sophia Matthias
2014 – Sam Matthias, Hank Hughes, Claire Geidel, Grace Roberts
2013 – Nathan Miller, Justin Matulka, Sydney Christensen, Hannah Bierbaum
2012 – Matthew Sherman, J. J. Metschke, Destiney Grunke, Corbynne Jester
2011 – Theo Hughes, Alec Sackschewsky, Kenna Piskoriski, Hannah Helmer
2010 – Jaden Volzke, Angelo Wignall, Lena Hughes, Gretchen Moll
2009 – Nathan Bierbaum, Grant Hartman, Lydia Asplin, Kenna Michaelson
2008 – Dakota Fernau, Matthew Sherman, Leah Sackschewsky, Madison Geidel
2007 – Adam Holtorf, Jacob Sloup, Morgan Doehring, Madison & Kelsey Sloup
2006 – Joel Ketner, Joe Gremel & Jacob Bierbaum, Ashlyn Hanson, Kristi Einspahr
2005 – Thomas Suhr, Andrew Cahoon, Sierra Wignall, Grace Halder
2004 – Sam Brauer, Adam Holtorf, Emily Culp, Brittany Baumbach
2003 – John Cahoon, Brandon Schaefer, Kara Einspahr, Emmi Moll
2002 – Richie Graves, Jake Suhr, Allison Pearson, Kylie Schildt
2001 – Clint Aegerter, Nathan Klintworth, Jennifer Gleisberg, Emma Blanke
2000 – Mitch Lyons, Nate Stepp, Alyssa McConnell, Felicia Kolterman
1999 – Austin Adamek, Rodney Mueller, Susan Neimoth, Katie Hofer
1998 – Cade Luebbe, Ben Gremel, Katie Bangert, Carrie Niemoth
1997 – John Sloup, Ben Hartmann, Katie Karel, Jessica Helge
1996 – Wesley Mahalek, Jim Thomas, Stephanie Frey, Jennifer Hartmann
1995 – Conor Hofer, Gavin Koehler, Wendy McConnell, Kate Owens
1994 – Tim Hartmann, Steven Pike, Megan Zabrocki, Stephanie Hotovy
1993 – Derek Hain, Blake Schulz, Rachael Schulz, Sarah Bollwitt
1992 – John Riggert, Craig Aldrich, Beth Kilzer, Kylie Brand
1991 – Dan Schipper, Matt Dinslage, Amanda McConnell, Jessica Kolterman
1990 – Ben Pratt, Nathan Kolterman, Stacie Kotera, Katie Dickinson
1989 – Ryan Brauer, Ryan Kinworthy, Alexa Pragman, Tina Schmeiding
1988 – Joshua Eickmeier, Titus DeBoer, Christine Mueri, Jamie Nesbitt
1987 – Cory Wood, Jeff Kimball, Amy Horton, Amy Gausman
1986 – Jason Zimbelmann, Andrew Schlueter, Suzy Ohlmann, Rebecca Mannigel
1985 – Greg Karpenko, Jeff Matzke, Angie Coon, Melissa Zabka
1984 – Jason Meyer, Tim Mannigel, Nicole Erks, Ann Pavletich
1983 – Mark Stein, Matt Ehrlich, Marie Obermueller, Angela Yost
1982 – Trent Thorell, Tom Pfliger, Mary Smith, Misty Brooks
1981 – Ray Koch, Nathan Lucas, Lisa Urbanek, Cari Hain
1980 – Scott Broekemeier, Doug Ortlieb, Anne Warner, Corrie Stelmachowicz
1979 – David Miers, Craig Jelinek, Bevin Gerkensmeyer, Kim Jost
1978 – Scott Seevers, David Stohs, Jennifer Kruse, Jennifer Rhode
1977 – Dan Oetting, Lukas Galen, Jill Volzke, Julie McConnell
1976 – Jon Oetting, David Stewart IV, Liz Brunworth, Kristy Rocker
1975 – Peter Glawatz, Tim Kraft, Kim Whittemore, Teresa Zoucha
1974 – John Korinko, Bob Schulz, Kris Plamann, Ginnelle Mueller
1973 – Peter Meyer, Alan Geis, Cara Hans, Barb Fiala
1971 – Kevin Probst, Doug Geis, Diane Sanders, Barb Geis
1970 – Brian Keller, Jean Brigham
1969 – David Lange, Michael Preuss, Brenda Peter, Susie Nutzman
1968 – Mark Schultz, William Roundey, Pam Jeary, Connie Schultz
1967 – Susan Boals, Miss Centennial

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