NEBRASKA CITY – The Christmas lights for Main Street in Otoe were too worn out to be displayed this year, so the pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church and community volunteers envisioned a dice game of Bunco to buy new lights.

Pastor LuRae Hallstrom: “We found out that there is a lack of Christmas lights in Otoe, that the city, the village didn’t have Christmas lights, so we wanted to be able to help out to be able to share Christ’s love in that way.”

While most of the 40 players were novices, veteran players said nothing says love like rolling a bunco, or was that luck?

Gerri Harden: “If you get that and you’re on number one, that’s worth 21. If you get this and you’re on ones, that’s worth five. That’s called a baby bunco.”

Rachel Vollertsen: “It’s like a casino. It’s just luck.”

Bunco master Ed Zastera said the rules are simple.

Zastera: “Probably just to keep it rolling, keep moving and try to score those points.”


The pressure was on for Madison Jording in the final round at the winner’s table.

Audio: “Maddy, one! You just need one. “Oh, she can’t do it. She can’t do it.” No pressure. “Woo-Yeahhh.” See, I carry the team.”

Volunteers, including Deb Aden and the food committee and Angela Parsons and Penny Trueblood on decorating, expected to raise about $1,000 with soup and sandwiches, bunco and a Christmas white-elephant auction, but the final tally exceeded $1,800.

Village board members say they expect to have new lights up by next Christmas.

Prize winners are Lori McElhenie, Sherry Ross, Billie Jo Farley, Jazmyn Hanes, Gerri Harden, Barb Hillman and Beth Hillman.