Kent Boyd;From Farmtown to Hollywood

By Heather Vaubel Hetterick

The summer of 2010 won’t soon be forgotten in my little town. A place where the town pool is the hot spot and summer plans are scheduled around the county fair, this summer was different. Kent Boyd made it different.

I first got wind of things at preschool graduation. All the moms were buzzing that preschool teacher, Miss Lori’s son had made it in the finals for the TV show, So You Think You Can Dance on Fox.

Well, we all knew he could dance. He’d taken lessons for years from the local dance studio, the same place I took lessons for 10 years. Still it was hard to believe that the kid who cleaned my table when I ate at the local restaurant had made the big time.

Every person in our little town from four to ninety four got excited and involved. Last week while driving through town while the show was on, I couldn’t help but notice large screen TV’s through the window were all tuned into the show.

Each week while he wowed the judges with his talent and America fell in love with his innocence, charming, genuine and goofy personality, Botkins became prouder and prouder. Especially since there was a little confusion about where he was from. He graduated from Botkins High School this year, but his address is Wapakoneta. On the show they actually talked about Wapakoneta quite a bit, because they had so much trouble trying to pronounce it. Both towns got more and more involved decorating town and hanging signs, notifying people via Facebook and holding gatherings in support. There was even a prayer service the night of the finale. You couldn’t drive through town and not know Kent was from Botkins with all the signs.

On farmer was even creative using straw to create Kent's name to remind people to vote for him
One farmer used straw to spell out Kent's name to remind people to vote
The local pizza place even had a Kent Boyd special on Wednesday night when voting took place

Kent wasn’t the only person to become famous. Segments throughout the session showed my neighbors tractor and a local dairy farmers cows. When they came to Botkins the first time to tape a segment my mom actually saw them, but thought it was being done for graduation so she diverted down a side street. Our town mayor even got interviewed and appeared on national TV.

The mayor's house. You should have seen how they decorated their vehicle.
The mayor's house on Main Street. You should have seen how their vehicle was decorated.

Kent ended up in the finale and while he placed second on the show, he won America’s heart and put the little town of Botkins, population 1,200 on the map.

A college reunion conflicted with me being able to be at his homecoming celebration. I was so upset because as I told my husband, this was the biggest thing to happen in Botkins, EVER! Quite the celebration it was. When someone or group has a big accomplishment, we bring them into town with the fire trucks. Until I went to college I did not realize all towns don’t do this. And oh the confusion when a new person moves to town and sees this for the first time…… It also doesn’t matter what time it is. Kent and his family were scheduled to get back to town at 2:30 AM. So, yep, that meant the fire trucks brought him through town that was completely decorated in his honor and people came in the middle of night to welcome him home.

This is Main Street at approximately 3:00 am

Then the fire trucks escorted him back into town at noon that day to the school for a formal celebration at the school gym. There he was given the ‘key to the town,’ the only one ever known to be given. The major declared that day ‘Boydkins’ day his honor. Since Kent was supposed to be a lifeguard at the town pool this summer and of course, never made it to work a single day, the pool manager officially fired him too!

Kent's second parade the day he returned to town, complete with another fire truck escort
Kent's second parade through town on the day he returned home, again escorted by the fire trucks.

There are not words to describe how proud this community is of him. His talent and rise to fame give us all hope. He reminds us to be genuine, that hard work really does pay off and anything is possible, even for a small town kid. Kent’s turned into a role model for so many young people in this area and we couldn’t have have asked for better one. He has said several times, he won’t forget where he comes from. Botkins won’t soon let him forget. I give the town a week and we’ll have one of those green signs when you enter town that says, Botkins, Home of Kent Boyd.

(I couldn’t agree with Kent more. I think every kid should watch this)

Kent soon leaves again, this time to go on tour with the other dancers. They’ll be performing in Columbus and tickets are being sold in town at the beauty shop. A bus has been arranged to take his small town fans to the big city to see him perform.

I’m proud to say Kent Boyd is from my town of Botkins, but also proud to say that I’m from such a fine town as Botkins.

*Photos courtesy of the Botkins for Kent Boyd Facebook page

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