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COUNCIL BLUFFS — For 150 years, Union Pacific Railroad trains have been rolling through the prairies, with a million miles of history shining in the sun.
If you are of a certain age, that last line might sound familiar.
It was part of a catchy little ditty used in 1970 in the U.P. commercial "Great Big Rolling Railroad," which featured Union Pacific employees singing and clapping to a foot-stomping song about the rail line.
"The president of the Union Pacific Railroad, John Kenefick, loved it," recalled Bill Fries, who wrote the song as part of an advertising campaign proposal for the company. "He wanted to hear it over and over again. It became the basic music track for all Union Pacific TV commercials.
"And, of course, the award-winning spot with the Union Pacific employees singing the song became a classic."
As the company celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, U.P. has been awarding prizes every month to people who submit new video renditions of the commercial. It will offer a grand prize of $15,000 to the overall winner later this year.
But as the presenting sponsor of Celebrate CB this year, Union Pacific wanted to do something special just for Council Bluffs.
"They asked us to find a creative way to engage the area schools in the event," said Brenda Mainwaring, director of public affairs for Union Pacific. "For Council Bluffs only, we have created a separate prize fund of $4,500 for contestants from area schools and student organizations."
Three $1,000 cash prizes and three $500 runner-up prizes will be awarded to student groups that judges have deemed the best elementary, middle and high school videos.
"We know it is a struggle to find funds for special activities that students engage in," Mainwaring said. "This is an opportunity to win money for the speech or drama club, or the football or soccer team, whatever activity is important to the winning student."
All one-minute videos must be submitted to UP150.com/gbrr by May 1.
Winners will be announced and the winning videos shown at a special event in Bayliss Park on May 15 at 8 p.m., following Celebrate CB's Clean Sweep event.
Entries will also be eligible for the national competition. For more information, click here.