Going forward, Havre’s Jerod Boles is no longer able to compete in the Elks Hoop shoot competitions. But after six years of hard work and dedication, Boles achieved his goals and went out on top.
Back on April 28-30, Boles was in Springfield, Mass., for the National Elks Hoop Shoot. This was Boles’ first national appearance, but Boles won all six Havre shoots he competed in, as well as won the district competition four times and the state competition twice. Boles also took second at regionals at nine years of age, before claiming the No. 1 regional spot this season and finishing in the top 10 at the national level.
“It was something we started when Jerod was eight years old,” Jerod’s mother, Tammy Boles said. “It was something he knew he could do well at so he made a conscious effort to go and practice and do his best. He made it to regionals when he was nine and that lit the fire even more to make it to nationals. This year was his last year and he made his goal. As a parent I am very proud of that and not many kids set a goal and actually work at it for six years until they achieve that goal. I think that just put into Jerrod’s mind that if he practices and puts the time into something he wants to do, he could achieve it. I am very proud of him.
“I have learned that over the years,” Jerod added. “Practicing can just make you that much better.”
But achieving his goal of making it to nationals is just part of the equation. Jerod also got to experience a trip that few boys his age have ever experienced, and will be a lifelong memory.
Alot of the trip was spent hanging out and just getting to know the other competitors. There was even a special dinner on Friday, followed by a trip to the National Basketball Hall of Fame that evening, where Jerod witnessed the tribute to his favorite Hall of Fame player, Michael Jordan. Competition was held on Saturday, followed by another dinner, this time a banquet where the athletes were recognized for their efforts.
“This was great because it is something none of my other friends have done,” Jerod said. “I just wanted to try it and see how I could do, and it was really fun. And it was really fun going to the hall of fame, and while we were down there we also went to the University of Connecticut.
"But the hall of fame was the best because I got to see everybody who is in the hall of fame and we got to play on the court that was there and mess around. It was pretty fun.”
Overall, it was just a really good experience for Boles. He was one of 72 national competitors and managed to finish in the top 10 in his age group. And while it took six years to reach his goal, Jerod stuck with it and made his goal, competing nationally.
“It was nerve racking and it took a while for me to calm down.” Jerod said. “I just thought back at what I did in practice and all the other hoop shoots I have been to.”