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The Antelope

The Antelope

‘Groovey’ car turns students’ heads in MSAB parking lot

ZAHIRA LOPEZ / ANTELOPE STAFF Student Health worker Susan Pedersen plasters the blue buggy’s backside with stickers.

Groovey is not your average car. The royal-blue 2001 Volkswagen Bug is more bumper sticker than actual car… yet there’s a story behind every decal.

Susan Pedersen, the owner of Groovey, has parked her car in the student health parking lot for the past 21 years. For all those years, students have considered Groovey to be an unofficial attraction of UNK.

Some cringe at the sight of the beetle yet others are amused with Groovey’s colorful personality.

“Well, it’s funny because when I’m driving down the street, I’ll see kids do the slug bug punch thing,” Pedersen said.

Pedersen is the assistant director of UNK student health. She claims that the “sticker fetish” all started with running a marathon.

Pedersen’s husband bought the blue beetle for her as a gift in 2000 – the same year they decided to run a marathon together. 

When the two crossed the finish line together, they received a license plate holder as a prize to commemorate their accomplishment. Little did they know that license plate holder led to the birth of a car unlike any other.

Groovey has accumulated about 200 stickers over the last 21 years. While some of them are random, most of the stickers have a special meaning to her.

“I feel like my car is a kind of reflection of me and it just makes me happy,” Pedersen said. “So yeah, there’s a lot of stickers on there but it makes me happy.”

Pedersen considers herself to be a nutritionist and has multiple stickers advocating healthy eating. She is also involved in cat rescues by assisting in the Loper Cats group, a UNK organization that focuses on protecting the feral cat population. She is also a dog-lover and constantly takes her two hunting dogs for rides even if they get wet and muddy or skunked.

Although Pedersen is proud of her Groovey, other people aren’t so accepting of her accomplishment.

“My mother hates it,” Pedersen said. “She might even park away from it because she thinks it’s awful and tacky. My husband wouldn’t be caught dead in it.”

Pedersen told the story of how a local morning radio show complained about a blue beetle they saw on the road with excessive stickers, which she said she believes had to be Groovey.

Groovey is known for his aesthetic beauty but he’s also a fighter.

The beetle survived a horrific hailstorm in Kearney that had “base-ball sized hail.” The hail demolished the side mirrors and windows. Even when he was completely totaled, he was somehow restored. It just goes to show that even in the face of judgmental society, Groovey was meant to be.

Pedersen, herself, admits that he’s tacky but plans on driving him until he breaks down. The car has only a little over 100,000 miles on it, but she only drives it around town as she fears that Groovey wouldn’t be able to make it on out-of-town trips. 

This beetle special in another way as the model has been discontinued.

Most of the time it’s Groovey that gets all the attention but Pedersen herself is what makes the car complete.

Dr. Kaitlyn Beranek, a physician at UNK student health, explained how Pedersen’s presence has made an impact on campus.

“Whether it is making college students feel at ease in the clinic, being a wonderful mother to her children or helping to control the stray cat population, Sue goes above and beyond to exceed expectations,” Beranek said.

Groovey is the living embodiment of indifference to what others think. Whether people like it or not, the beetle will keep catching the eyes of passersby, no matter their opinions. As long as Pedersen has Groovey and her own personality, she will continue to spread happiness across Kearney.

“Her blue bug covered in fun bumper stickers is a direct reflection of her love for life,” Beranek said.

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