Jimbo makes final ridePublished 5:09pm Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Time bends the bond of a Band of Brothers, but it remains unbroken almost 40 years later.
Sixteen years after losing 1973 Niles High School graduate and machinist James Clayton Boht (June 30, 1954-July 27, 1996) to a heart attack, former football teammates converged in South Dakota and biked on to Crazy Woman Canyon in Buffalo, Wyoming, where he trout fished, to spread his ashes.
“Seven Niles Vikings rode in and six rode out,” said Bob Cain of Orlando, who logged 1,935 miles in 10 days on the “most marvelous trip I’ve ever taken.”
The seven who paid tribute to Boht, who lived in Phoenix, were Cain and his wife, Sherri; Dan Etzcorn and Bruce Leach from Niles; Dennis Wynn of Aurora, Colo.; Mike Fries of Stanley, Montana; and Robert Etzcorn of Homer Glen, Ill.
“As planned,” Cain said, “we arrived in Rapid City to pick up my motorcycle and meet up with Jimbo again. He was shipped with the motorcycle up there. My wife and I also met up with part of our group from Niles and Homer Glen. After a rest that night, we were off to the Badlands for a day-long ride with Bohty as our companion, seeing lots of beautiful countryside and a tourist stop at Wall Drug.”
After two nights in the Mount Rushmore area, they ventured into Deadwood and Sturgis for the bike rally and split from the Etzcorns until later in the week.
The Cains and Leach headed to Four Corners, Wyoming, to reunite with ’73 football teammates Wynn and Fries. They spent the night of Aug. 5 there, then traveled to Gillette, Wyoming, to hook up with the Etzcorn brothers for the ride into Buffalo and a bit of quiet time.
“Leslie Boht, his widow, sent us his ashes to carry out Bohty’s wish to have his remains spread in Crazy Woman Canyon in the Big Horn Mountains,” Cain said Wednesday. “As Jimbo’s last ride continued, seven Niles Vikings, along with Sherri, rode off to the canyon to carry out our dear friend’s wishes on a beautiful afternoon. We all had our private thoughts and feelings as we rode up the mountain and saw the sign. We stopped for some photos and joint reflections. We continued to an area where Jimbo fished with Dennis and spread a few ashes and set a small headstone on a boulder. Then we continued on to a place where the stream ran beside a huge boulder where Fries said he and Jimbo spent time to spread the remainder of Bohty’s ashes.”
Cain, Fries and Wynn placed the second headstone in the stream itself while the Etzcorns, Leach and Sherri looked on and snapped photographs.
“We were all honored to be part of Jimbo’s last ride,” Cain said. “Then we split up and rode off to the rest of our great summer vacation. We are very fortunate to have come from Niles and to still feel unity. The bond of old classmates and teammates is as tight as can be. To do a tribute for a close friend, meeting in places far away 16 years after he passed, shows the love and commitment a community produces. Our hearts go out to the babies and families involved in that horrible accident with tears and prayers.”