Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos took a break from sports Wednesday to talk about his family's Homesteading roots.
Moos -- a descendant of a homesteading family which has roots through eastern Montana, Nebraska and Washington -- was the special guest speaker at the "Friends of the Homestead" dinner Wednesday at Classics.
Moos' grandfather homesteaded in Cherry County, just outside of Ogallala, on a quarter section of land.
Homestead National Monument Director Mark Engler, along with other Homestead representatives, approached Moos when they discovered Moos' family history.
Moos, who has a history degree, said the 30-page summary he received of his family's history was fascinating to read.
He talked about a specific document in which his grandfather was asked what he has done to improve the land he had homesteaded during his three years.
Those improvements included two wells, crops, a house valued at $500, a barn valued at $75, two windmills, 12 head of cattle, 16 head of horses, two hogs, four chickens, two beds, one table, 10 chairs, a wood stove, three pots, shovels and rakes.
"You're reading through that stuff and you start to think about how primitive living that really was," Moos said.
Moos, who is named after his grandfather William Moos, later quipped that he might be named after Buffalo Bill.
"When I got here, I was going through the capitol and I saw the history of William Frederick Cody," Moos said. "I did the math and I told my wife that I think they ran out of names and named him after Buffalo Bill."
Moos said his wife didn't buy into that theory, but played along.
"OK, Buffalo Bill," she said, "lets go grab some lunch," drawing laughter from the crowd gathered.
After Moos' presentation, Engler unveiled Moos' Homesteading Legacy banner, which will hang outside of the Homestead National Monument along side other famous descendants of homesteaders.
Moos said it was a thrill for him to receive the honor, which he calls a "national honor."
"Famous people from all over the country have homesteading roots and it's a testament to how important that act was to populate the West," Moos said. "It fascinates me and to be honored like that is a real thrill for me and my family."
Wednesday's presentation came on the heels of Moos' latest blockbuster coaching hire. On Tuesday, he officially named Fred Hoiberg to be the next Nebraska men's basketball coach.
Moos said him and his family have loved Nebraska, especially the people.
"We've been embraced and welcomed and we love Nebraskans because they are hard working and have tremendous values," Moos said. "I've hired Midwest coaches for that reason. They don't flip out because the temperature is below zero or there's a snow drift. I like to surround myself by people like you."
Other speakers at the event included Engler as well as past president of the "Friends of the Homestead" organization Diane Vicars.
The "Friends of the Homestead" organization emphasizes assisting the monument with events; owning and managing 140 acres of property that will eventually be deeded to the monument; and advocating for the National Park.
One of the organization's efforts is its support of changing the name of the park to the Homestead National Historical Park.
The Coffin family and their foundation was also honored at Wednesday's event because of their years of support for the organization and the Homestead National Monument. Engler unveiled a plaque with a picture of Leigh F. Coffin along with his family Leigh M. and Marilyn Coffin.
This plaque will permanently be on display at the Heritage Center at the monument," Engler said. "It will be alongside other people and groups who have contributed significantly to the Homestead National Monument."