The O’Neill Public Library will host the dynamic duo of Robert and Susan Ihrig, authors of “Million Dollar Party.”

The authors will host a reading and book signing from 6:30-9 p.m. Thursday, July 12 at the library. 

Relive the ups and downs the couple encountered during the process of owning a restaurant in Lincoln. 

Admission is free to the event.

The couple opened Bob’s Gridiron Grille and the Pigskin Pub in Lincoln, known worldwide as Cornhusker country. 

“I was totally convinced my one-of-a-kind collection of Nebraska football memorabilia would be a draw, I was dead wrong,” Robert said.

“This is not a how-to-book. How could it be? We failed. We’re not qualified to tell anybody anything, other than what we experienced,” he added. “This memoir delves into the why, the wherefore and the what. Why did I want a restaurant? What did we do to plan for our venture and what exactly happened?”

“Nothing turned out the way we designed; instead our dream turned into something out of a horror story,” he continued.


About the Authors

The couple has been together almost 50 years. 

Robert’s father was a coach and school principal. He had moved to 14 places in three states by the time he was 12 years old. His mom was an alcoholic. 

He collected baseball and football cards, but after seeing The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, he rushed out to buy drumsticks and started a rock band.

Susan’s family owned a farm on the outskirts of Culbertson, right off Hwys. 6 and 34. 

The big red barn in back of the house could be seen from the road and was a local landmark of sorts. She grew up in a loving family with four sisters and went to the same school from kindergarten to graduation. She studied hard and played the organ in church.

Susan and Robert were born two months apart in the same Catholic hospital in McCook, but never met until they entered college on music scholarships, where they were in marching band together, hung out and got married in the days of the Vietnam War.

They launched their plan of a lifetime in 2003, opening a restaurant and bar in the heart of Huskerland, Lincoln. Their place was decorated in Robert’s lifelong collection of Cornhusker memorabilia.

Even though he promised Susan the restaurant would be a huge success – it was a miserable failure.

Just a few years before, they had some $2 million in assets, but after closing the doors and draining the beer kegs, they left town with $500 in their pockets and headed for colorful Colorado in a run-down vehicle pulling a worn-out trailer.

Shaking off the dust of defeat as they drove away, Susan mumbled, “I could never imagine sitting in Memorial Stadium watching a Nebraska football game ever again.”

Starting over at age fifty-five stinks.

“Serves us right for throwing a Million Dollar Party!” Bob and Susan now reside in Parker, CO.


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