Idaho’s Bo Harker Knows One Gear: All Out
By Bill X. Barron
According to Upper Valley Aces Coach Rhett Banta, 8-year old Boden Harker “knows only one gear: all out! In drills, during practice, or while going live, you can’t tell the difference. Training at that pace translates into competition: he knows he’s going to win.” Coach Banta applauds the dedication and sacrifice that Bo and his family make for the 3-hour round trip to St. Anthony for every practice.
Bo also practices nearer home with Coach Roberto Velasquez who heads up Team Sublime in Pocatello, Idaho. Coach Berto enjoys his time with Bo, whom he calls “brilliant for his age and a seeker of knowledge – a Dan Gable in the making.” The club ascribes to the Gable motto: “there is no substitute for hard work.” While the Sublime kids work hard to better themselves as wrestlers, Berto is there to remind them that “we want to not just be good wrestlers but good people as well.”
Bo’s mom Danica asserts that he would only be the wrestler he is through working with multiple coaches. Likewise, Bo believes that “it’s valuable having different coaches, because there is something different you can learn from each one.” Bo appreciates the fact that his parents work extra jobs so that he can travel around the country to compete in national youth tournaments.
The benefit of long road trips is that “my parents teach me what I can do to get better, so I can get closer to achieving my goals.” His father Nathan, whom Bo attributes to getting him started in wrestling and for being his role model, asserts: “Boden is a great leader on his team, always willing to help others. He loves to teach new moves to his teammates. A great example on and off the mat, Bo is the first to make others feel included.”
Bo acknowledges that “wrestling has molded me into a respectful and honest person. It has helped me realize that what you work for in life is more valuable than that which is handed to you.” In his own young life, Bo has learned: “I believe that if you want something badly enough, you obtain it through dedication. Some of my best friends are also my biggest competitors; iron sharpens iron.”
This belief in earning what you work for is why he values Rocky Mountain National Events: “RMN brings the top competition, then rewards the wrestlers’ hard work with sweet trophies.” Just the same, U.V. Aces Coach Banta reminds his wrestlers that “we don’t win medals or trophies; they just give them to us at tournaments. Where we truly win is through hard work, dedication, and sacrifice in practice.”
As a result of spending five of his eight years on the wrestling mat, Bo is wise in mind and heart. The surface on which he practices and competes may be padded, but he holds nothing back and he dodges no one. He proclaims: “The main lesson I have learned in wrestling is that there are no shortcuts. Hard work, in the long run, is the best answer.” The same can be said for the path Bo has chosen for his life: earn an Olympic team berth, then join the Air Force to become a fighter pilot. After that, he would “love to be a coach and help kids.”