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Patrons enjoy afternoon drinks at WC’s South, which won the 2019 Lincoln Best Dive Bar competition. The bar is located at 2109 Nebraska 2.

Past history:

Chuck Cheever is planning a big party Friday at WC’s South Sports Bar, worthy of Lincoln’s new best dive bar.

“We want to show our regulars our appreciation,” said WC owner Cheever, who cruised through the 16-team bracket-style competition knocking out three No. 1 seeds, including the Tack Room in the Finals.

For the record, WC were seeded third in the four-team South Region, meaning they were seen – at least on paper – as an underdog in every game. Forget those rankings. These things are never right, they say – especially in this case.

WC was no one’s underdog.

“We never thought we were a number 3,” Cheever said.

Not that he’s complaining now. Being part of Ground Zero’s first-ever Dive Bar Challenge was a constant thrill, which seemed to get bigger every week and grow business at the bar, Cheever said.

“Word got around about us and there were a lot more people here every week,” he said. “We talked about it a lot inside the bar. It gave everyone the chance to compare other bars around Lincoln, to talk about how we compare to bars like the Tack Room.

“There are a lot of good bars in Lincoln.”

And after limping out the door and falling behind Roca Tavern by double digits, WC proved themselves worthy as they rallied to win this game – and three more.

“It’s a three week race that we’ve been through,” Cheever said. “It’s been a lot of fun checking my phone to see the updated scores. We were a little nervous on Saturday afternoon and started calling people to tune in and vote.

“Gathering the vote, that’s what we’ve been doing for the past two weeks.”

The final match with the Tack Room has never been closer. Cheever got a little flustered when WC’s lead slipped to eight points. It’s barely as close as a first-round win over Roca, when WC rallied the vote in the final hours to win by a handful of votes.

He responded with resounding victories over regional seeds Grapevine Bar (South), Harry’s Wonder Bar (Downtown) and the Tack Room (Cornhusker).

After Friday’s celebration, which will include a special on pastrami sandwiches, he said, Cheever plans to start looking for a way to defend the WC crown next year. After all, the only thing harder than climbing the mountain is maintaining that top perch.

But Cheever, not one to miss an opportunity to throw a jab, had another question:

“Are you going to make us a No. 3 seed again next year?”

Touches.

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