An inspiration

Tucker Boyce poses with his trophy for Wyoming State Most Inspirational Special Olympian.

Pinedale youth honored statewide for his efforts

Only a few years ago

Tucker Boyce was terrified of the water.

Now he is an Olympic medal-winning swimmer.

“He was terrified when you put him in

the water he would yell and kick,” said his

mother Judi Boyce. Now daily laps in the

pool are part of his morning routine.

That daily practice has brought him home

the gold – as well as the silver and bronze –

several times.

Most recently, during the May 10 State

Special Summer Olympics in Laramie,

Tucker received more than the gold. He received

a trophy – nearly as tall as he is – for

being the most inspirational athlete for the

state of Wyoming.

Sublette County Special Olympics Coordinator

Gayle Hamner said Tucker was chosen

for the honor after his participation for

the past three years in Special Olympics.

“He has worked very hard to improve his

time in each event,” Hamner said. “This year

I put him in longer events. He competes with

a smile no matter how he finishes.”

And, it’s not just swimming. Tucker competes

in cycling and skiing events during the

winter.

Tucker, 10, has high functioning autism.

Easy to talk with, he also becomes fixated.

During the Pinedale Clean-up Day, most

people were looking for trash including

bottles, cans, car parts, etc. A bingo game

given to volunteers listed “money” as a

box to be marked off. Tucker’s focus became

looking for money.

“We’ve got to find some money,” Tucker

said, slightly disappointed over the bags of

trash his team accumulated.

Just like his focus on money during the

clean-up, Tucker’s focus in Special Olympics

is bringing home the gold.

Tucker said he keeps his gold, silver and

bronze medals in a safe. His mother confirms

he has a locked treasure chest complete with

his own code to protect his stash of medals.

For now, they’ve been placed in the family’s

living room in a display built by Tucker’s

older brother Nick.

“Special Olympics has made the difference

between night and day,” Judi Boyce

said. “He has come so far.”

Corey Trujillo has been Tucker’s swim

therapy teacher since kindergarten with

morning swims before school. Hamner has

helped Tucker train in cycling and skiing.

Tucker also participates in the MESA therapeutic

horse riding program.

A fourth-grader at Pinedale Elementary

School, Tucker also has individual time with

special education instructors.

While competing is important, more important

is the support he receives from his

family, coaches and classmates.

“They made me a card telling me to do

good,” Tucker said of his classmates, while

wearing a huge smile.

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