West Maple Rock propels Omaha to internet stardom


Derek Adams

The West Maple Rock is often decorated by “fans.” Photo by Bryan Vomacka/the Gateway

For former UNO student Jorey Housley, the people who hit and got stuck on the West Maple Rock, located at 15600 West Maple Road, were meant to be laughed at—until he became one of them.

“Before I hit it, I thought the people that did were so stupid,” he said. “I just didn’t understand how or why so many people were hitting it all the time.”

The googly-eye sporting “Maple Rocko,” as it is referred to on Facebook, started to gain notoriety for the uptick in accidents involving the seemingly harmless boulder.

“It’s like a magnet,” Housley said. “I just wanted to turn into Hy-Vee, and I guess my truck just couldn’t handle it.”

Housley isn’t alone. Most of the vehicles involved in the rock-related accidents are trucks and SUVs—making one wonder, what exactly is different about larger vehicles that attracts them to hitting “Rocko” more frequently than smaller cars?

“It’s the turn itself,” Housley said. “The turn is super tight. You have to crank it and trucks are just harder to maneuver in general.”

This pattern of the coincidental collisions has attracted nationwide coverage, even being reported on in a CNN article by Fernado Alfonso III, who said that the number of accidents was “untold.”

The West Maple Rock is classified as a tourist attraction on Google Maps and has gained a 5-star rating, luring people to come see what seems to be a normal medium marker.

Due to this notoriety on the internet, Mars Bar and Grill has begun to offer a $2 discount on your tab if you take a photo of yourself and the rock.

“People have fun with it, and we like to have fun with it too,” Mars Bar owner Mars Booth said.

Another reason that causes people to hit the boulder, other than the size of the vehicle, is drivers not paying attention when they are making the turn. This was the case for UNO student Kj Stier.

“I just wasn’t looking close enough,” Stier said. “I am bad at turning sometimes and parking lots freak me out in general.”

“I wondered why it is even still there after all these accidents,” Housley said. “You’d think that they would plow over it or remove it.”

The original owner of the piece of property that “The Rock” is located on is owned by a company named of Sweetbriar, which has gone out of business.