Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway Polar Bear Tank Race – The first annual SJSB Polar Bear Tank Race was held in February 2008 as a benefit for the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway. This event was also held to encourage people from a distance to come and enjoy an unusual winter recreation in the Sandhills. Teams consisting of 4 or 6 people race in eight foot stock tanks down the Middle Loup River for approximately three miles.  With a staggered start, each Polar Bear Tank Team is racing against the clock.   In the first year there were 60 plus participants, many from more than 200 miles away and one from out-of-state and it is anticipated that this number will continue to grow.  Visit for more information on the tank race.

The Annual "Smokin' Hot in Hooker County" BBQ contest is held the 2nd weekend of July.  Teams of up to five members will prepare brisket, ribs, chicken hind quarters and beans with awards given for each division and overall champion.  Entry form and official rules may be downloaded below.

During the third weekend of July, Mullen hosts the Sandhills Chute-Out Bull Riding competition. Approximately 30 contestants complete for $4,000 in prize money at this timed event pitting rider against bull. This annual contest draws a crowd of around 800 spectators from the surrounding area. This event is followed closely by the Hooker County Fair the first full weekend of August.

Mullen offers a variety of activities for the outdoor enthusiast throughout the year. The most well-known Mullen event drawing contestants from around the United States is the annual Sandhills Sharptail Shootout - - on the second Saturday of the Nebraska grouse season in September. For more than 25 years, teams of hunters have visited Mullen for this timed event to see who can bag the largest number of grouse with the least shots fired.  Teams compete in a trap shoot the day before the hunt and then have some fun on the Dismal River Sporting Ranch clays course. The hunt, organized by the Mullen Commercial Club, is successful due to the 50 plus land owners from Hooker County and surrounding counties that open their land to the hunters. Many don’t allow any other grouse hunters on their land until after this event to assure an exciting shoot for the hunters. Local groups assist with cooking, hosting, and serving meals for the hunters. The post hunt banquet and auction draws about 300 people each year in this town with only 500 residents. Teams are limited by the amount of lodging in the immediate area so enthusiasts sign up early to secure their spot for the event. The field for the hunt is usually set by May. Profits are used for community improvements. 

Hooker Co. Lodging Tax Advisory Committee,
Jul 2, 2014, 1:41 PM