For the man with the Husker bus, tailgate is about friends, family

By Zach Hammack, NewsNetNebraska

Mike Macholan’s friend found the beat-up school bus outside Bishop Neumann Catholic High School in Wahoo a few years back.

The small bus had been in a minor accident, its paint chipping and frame rusting.

But with a fresh coat of black and red paint and a couple of other renovations, Macholan, of Omaha, has turned the former junker into a veritable Husker tailgate hotspot in a parking lot outside the Glenn Korff School of Music before Saturday home Husker games.

Every Saturday, Macholan drives his red, white and black bus that’s decked out in Husker logos from Omaha to the lot near 10th and Q streets, where family from around the state come to eat and drink before games.

Last Saturday was no exception, with hundreds coming out to the nearly half a dozen tailgates set up in the lot before the Huskers’ football game against Rutgers University.

“It’s that fellowship of friends and family that I love,” Macholan said. “We love our team through thick and thin.”

Dick Kocarnik, a friend of Macholan, comes nearly every Saturday to the tailgate, where Macholan serves drinks, snacks, and fresh cold-cut sandwiches of out the back of the bus.

“He just really is very generous with what he does and he’s very welcoming to the other fans,” said Kocarnik, of Lincoln. “I enjoy that aspect. We see the human side of the other team when we’re outside the stadium.”

Macholan said he sees about 75 to 100 people come through his weekly tailgate, many of them fans from the opposing teams.

Occasionally, he’ll drive his Blackshirt bus to away games in Michigan and Minnesota.

But Macholan knows there’s no place like home, where through his donations to the university, he’s secured one of the best tailgate seats in the city.

“If you’re loyal, you’ll get treated that way,” he said.

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