The chartered jet landed at the Hastings airport early Sunday, after a three-hour trip from New Jersey.
And then the rumor took off.
Fueled by photos on Facebook, south-central Nebraskans were quick to identify the mystery visitor.
“Bruce Springsteen came into Hastings yesterday.”
“Seriously Bruce Springsteen, how cool is that. But now the question, why?”
“Sounds like Bruce Springsteen was part of the Jeep commercial in Blue Hill.”
They said Bruce Springsteen was traveling in an RV. That Bruce Springsteen had a Runza. That Bruce Springsteen was shooting a Super Bowl commercial, and was ultimately bound for the geographical center of the U.S. near Lebanon, Kansas, but he’d stopped in Webster County.
And, yes, someone did stop in Webster County, because a film crew shot something on the Republican River bridge south of Red Cloud and had hired a couple of off-duty deputies for security, Sheriff Troy Schmitz said Wednesday.
But, no, they didn’t know who that someone was. “I’ve heard a lot of things,” Schmitz said. “We were not given a name, and we didn’t ask it.”
Nebraska Film Officer Laurie Richards couldn’t help, either. She would only say: “I know there’s some projects being filmed around the state.”
If Springsteen was bound for the center of the country, his visit to Kansas went undetected. Smith County Sheriff Bruce Lehman, whose jurisdiction includes the landmark, didn’t know anything about it.
“Small county, not a lot of people. If he would have shown up, I’d have surely heard something.”
The private jet didn’t stay in Hastings for long Sunday, but it didn’t go far: It made a 10-minute hop to Grand Island and landed at 8:40 a.m. that morning.
But if the fuel folks did, they’re not allowed to say anything: An employee of Trego-Dugan Aviation said Wednesday he couldn’t comment. And the Hastings airport wasn’t talking, either.
By 11:30 p.m. Sunday, the private jet was back on the ground in New Jersey — just as the Facebook discussion in Nebraska was heating up.
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