By Tim Eberly
When 28-year-old Lane Boucher was a fourth-grader in Rudyard, he caught a segment on the television show "Good Morning America" that discussed the nomination of torchbearers for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
At the time, Boucher admired a local teenager named Steve Gorder, so the adolescent took the liberty of nominating his neighborhood role model.
"It was one of those small town things," Boucher said. "He was a senior that year, and he was one of those fellas that I looked up to."
That year, the Olympic organizing committee approved Boucher's nomination, making Garder one of the few Montana residents bestowed with the torch-passing priviledge that year.
But Boucher's lobbying days with the organizing committee did not stop there. Last spring, Boucher set his sights on nominating his older brother Troy, a 1987 Havre High School graduate who lives in Billings, to carry the torch before the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Required to write a 50- to 100-word essay explaining how Troy embodied the Olympic spirit, Lane again swayed the voters on the committee.
"He has been the ideal brother," Lane wrote about Troy, 32, in his essay submitted to the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. "His inspiration through his grit and determination always led me to try harder."
He added, "This is the most unselfish person I have ever known and I know of no one who knows him that would disagree."
Lane is not without backers himself, although they are anonymous. The same month Troy received word of his nomination and selection, in July, SLOC employees informed Lane that two people had cast nominations on his behalf. When contacted at the SLOC headquarters in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, an employee said information regarding the people who nominated Lane was not on file in the computer.
"I'd sure like to know who (nominated me) but they sure didn't tell me," said Lane, who works and lives alternately on his family's dryland wheat farms in Rudyard and Roundup. "I couldn't begin to speculate."
The siblings will be passing the torch off to one another it's uncertain who will pass off to whom when the torch makes its way through Billings on Jan. 28. The 65-day torch relay, which includes 210,000 participants, began on Dec. 4 in Atlanta and stretches 13,500 miles around the United States.
"It'll be exciting to participate in an event of that magnitude," said Troy, a real estate consultant. "I was surprised, to say the least. I had never given it a thought, as far as wanting to do something like that. It was certainly very thoughtful of (Lane)."
Joining the Boucher brothers among torchbearers with Hi-Line bloodlines are cousins Jennifer Small and Cory Sangrey, both of Havre, and Randy Beaudette, a Big Sandy resident.
"I'm not necessarily just representing Rudyard; it's the whole Hi-Line," Lane said.
Inadvertantly, Lane nearly missed the deadline to formally register for the relay. He had received word of the nomination via e-mail in early July, but when he logged on to check his e-mail on July 15, an old message from the SLOC in his inbox said Lane had until July 16 to register.
"I just hadn't checked my e-mail in a while," Lane said.
Now that the brothers are officially torchbearers in the 2002 Olympics, Lane recently made the effort to witness their responsibilities firsthand. For the last school semester, he has been living in Houston with another older brother, Dusty, and taking a computer class at a community college. A couple days ago, the torch relay meandered through downtown Houston, a spectacle Lane took in.
He saw former Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton carry the flame for the rationed two-tenths of a mile distance.
"I'm pretty jacked for it," said Lane, a 1992 graduate of Blue Sky High School. "They made a pretty big deal out of it in Houston."
Rudyard residents reacted favorably to the notion of two of their own representing the small community in the pre-Olympic Games festivities.
"I think it's great," said Chris Twedt, a Rudyard native. "We have such a small community. I thought it was pretty cool when I read about it."
Said Blanche Anderson, an elderly Rudyard resident, "That's nice. We could use a little coverage. Maybe it'll brighten things up a little bit" in light of the severe drought.
Brother pairings are one of the least common occurances when relatives are chosen for the torch relay.
"I asked the lady in Salt Lake about that and she told me that siblings are rare," Lane said. "She said, That's pretty cool.' "
Though Troy is flattered to be nominated by his brother, he feels the relationship they enjoy is only as it should be.
"He's my brother, and there's no other way to treat him other than the way I have," Troy said. "If I ever needed him, I know he would have been there for me."