Milligan Kicks Off Super Bowl Halftime Hype - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Milligan Kicks Off Super Bowl Halftime Hype

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On the first Saturday of the New Year Pepsi rallied fans for this year's Super Bowl Halftime Show in the middle of small-town Nebraska.

Milligan became center stage of the kick off. Pepsi took over the small town, placing vending machines every few yards with no fee.

A surprise country star also made a visit and put on a free concert to drum up the excitement. York High School band and spirit squad was asked to be featured in Pepsi commercial shoots to get people hyped up for halftime.

Main Street was transformed with a stage, rows of vending machines and Pepsi handed out memorabilia to everyone in the rural community.

Why Milligan? Pepsi chose the town as the halfway point of America and the small town is just one stop of many to come for the Pepsi surprises.

"This is huge, this never happens," said Katie O'Brian, a fan from Crete. It was an unexpected choice for such a giant event – one the featured York High School band said they'll never forget.

"I went to my band director and said I have a chance of a lifetime let's jump at it so we did," said Principal of York High School Mitch Bartholomew.

"There is professional cameras, it's almost like a little dream, you're a movie star," said Jon Fletcher a senior percussionist at York High School.

"At one point they were like we've told you 75 percent of what you know and the rest of it will remain confidential until you get there so the anticipation is building it's a really exciting experience for all of us," said senior Emily Meisinger the drum major for York High School.

York students knew they would be performing for a big audience but many didn't know the surprise at the end of the day.

"I did not know Lee Brice was performing," said Meisinger.  "Oh we didn't even know it was him until on the way here and then we were excited," said Caitlyn Hagginson a fan from Crete. "We didn't find out until this morning actually. We were like we are coming anyway," said O'Brian.

The below freezing temps did not keep fans away. "It's free so why not... we are used to this anyway," said one fan. It was that enthusiasm and willingness to come out despite the chill that left an impression with the main act.

"They have not even flinched that the fact that it's this cold and so we are going to do the same thing we are going to come out and rock out," said country music star Lee Brice.

People came from all parts of Nebraska to hear Lee Brice sing.

"Parking Lot Party... yea... it's our favorite," said two 12 year old girls who just took a picture with the country singer. "We love you Lee Brice!" "Lee Brice... woahhhhhhh!"

"We are pumped, excited, we love all of his songs... big fans," said Carlee Reistroffer a fan from Crete.

In one day, with Pepsi's in hand, a town of nearly 300 ballooned to 5,000. A day locals said will be talked about for years to come.

"We need more events like this in small town rural Nebraska," said Norman Marks a resident from Geneva. "It hasn't really sunk in that little York Nebraska is going to be on the map," said Fletcher. "You know here in five ten twenty years I guarantee these will come up as a great memory of a high school experience," said Bartholomew.

Brice said he was happy to be a part of that experience. "It feels like I'm back at home. It makes my heart jump for joy to be able to hang out with my kind of folks."

Nebraskan's are known to be crazy about their country music and that wasn't lost on Brice. "It's people that my genre of music... country music is all about and to be able to see this town that's about farms, and things that keep the country going and to be able to bring something to this town ah it's such an honor," explained Brice.

Lee Brice sang about ten songs and the night ended with fireworks.

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