Remembering Jim Boyette on his birthday… with the video from his August tribute barefoot run in Orlando!

Today would have been Jim Boyette’s 93rd Birthday. I am sure he is celebrating on that super calm lake in the sky. Jim passed away in July, and today he is heavy on my heart.

Barefooters were able to honor and remember Jim on August 29th in Orlando with an incredible barefoot tribute and Filmmaker Jake Snider was able to capture the event for all of us to see.

Jim’s neighbor and friend Diana Robbins organized the event which featured barefooting by Don Simon, Ron Scarpa, Mikey Caruso and Ben Groen (who filled in for Peter Fleck who had a back injury) The best of barefooting came out to honor one of our own. Below is the video.

Take a moment today to Remember Jim.

We thought Jim would live forever. 
In the 20 years, I have been attending barefoot water ski tournaments in the Southern Region and the U.S. Barefoot Nationals, Jim has always been there…  an ever-present force of the Greatest Generation.   
Jim Boyette surrounded by his adoring fans at the 2017 Barefoot Nationals

Jim was humble and kind.  He made friends with everyone he met and nurtured those relationships with well-timed phone calls and on Facebook.  He always seemed to know when I needed support as a tournament organizer or later, as President of the ABC.  But he supported all of his friends… from coast-to-coast and around the world.

Jim was always up for a party.  Jim never liked to miss an event and was always in the thick of it…  whether it was a barefoot tournament or some other water ski celebration.   He attended 41 of the 42 U.S. Barefoot National Tournaments, one of only two people to be able to say that.  At the 1980’s barefoot reunion in the fall of 2018, he was the star of the show.  It seemed like everyone wanted to talk to and be with Jim.

Jim was an Ironman. He performed the punishing tumble-up start behind the boat well into his 80s. 

Jim was supporter of all things barefooting. Always the first person to register and pay the entry fee for tournaments.  He even tried to pay for the tournament named after him: The Jim Boyette Southern Regionals.  I had to tell him several times that you don’t pay to enter a tournament named after you!

Jim was a hero.  From serving in the Navy to serving as a living legend for the young people of our sport.  The kids seem to gravitate to Jim at tournaments.  But he was a hero to us all.

I hope heaven has calm water and Jesus is a good boat driver… We love you Jim. We miss you already.

Betsy Anderson Gilman, Former ABC President

Jim Boyette’s Memorabilia

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