A young man1s mark on town
Gregory Dewain Burton was born Aug. 13, 1978. He died at the young age of 20 in a tragic car accident while away at college in Arizona in 1999.Greg1s family members have deep roots in Eagle and Gypsum. They1ve been here for decades. And they1re strong supporters of the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo. Greg was a member of the college rodeo team while in Arizona. A true cowboy. A true athlete.I remember when Greg was born, and I would see him every now and then as he was growing up. He was a handsome young guy sandwiched between two gorgeous sisters: Staci, now 25, and Tiffani, 20.Staci now teaches at Gypsum Creek Middle School, and Tiffani is attending college in Texas. Their parents, Dewain and Lisa, were always there supporting them and encouraging them through their many rodeo events.Greg1s high school football coach (who happens to be my husband) remembers Greg as a fierce competitor. His senior year he started as a guard and a linebacker, number 68.3The game I really remember was when we were playing Rye in the first round of the state playoffs. It was a tight game and one of Rye1s players was taking cheap shots at Greg<big swings at him, wanting him to retaliate. Greg kept his cool and an official ended up ejecting the Rye kid out of the game. Greg maintained and kept his cool, which is rare for a kid that age. I was so proud of him coach Ramunno says. 3Another time I had Greg in freshman PE and this kid really wanted to start a boxing unit. Someone brought in some gloves and Greg volunteered to box this mouthy kid. I had to step in a break it up because Greg was just hammering him. Kids were walking around saying, OI didn1t know Burton could box like that.1 It was amazing.Kids now fight for the number 68. Just last year the coaching staff thought it had been stolen. It was recovered, but now it1s under lock and key at all times.One of Greg1s eighth-grade teachers, Mike Gass, remembers Greg and his buddies specifically in math class.3It was my first year of teaching and those guys would never do their homework. Then, all of a sudden they were going crazy trying to finish their homework. I thought it was because they wanted to play a math game that we rewarded kids with. I later found out it was because those guys had a game of poker going on in the back of the room, 25 cents a hand.Greg1s lifetime friend, Todd Foral, remembers going camping with the Burtons when he and Greg were fairly young. 3Staci had a lot of girls come on this camping trip because it was her birthday. Once it got dark, Greg and I were hitting the tent with rocks and scaring the heck out of all of those girls. It was so fun.Then Foral recalls a time when they were a little older<seventh-graders. 3Lisa and Dewain were gone, watching Staci rodeo, and we stole their Bronco. We took off around town and Greg1s Aunt Lynda spotted us, so of course she told Lisa. We thought we1d gotten away with that one.Then there was the wild night at Eagle Valley High School when the boys were seniors.3Ryan Davis, Greg and I went to put live pigeons in the high school as a senior prank. Cops came out at us from everywhere, so we started running through the school. We finally made our way out of the school, but there was a ditch we had to jump and Greg didn1t jump! We still got out of there and made it back to Burton1s house. Then, we were listening to the police scanner that Dewain had and three other kids were also trying to get into the high school. I guess to do a similar thing. But they got caught, and from the conversations on the scanner, the police thought they had the same three guys. We were loving that.Greg1s friends describe him as positive and the guy who would always make you laugh when you were down.The Eagle County Fair Board has established the Greg Burton Memorial Scholarship. It is given out every year to a youth who is dedicated and involved with high school rodeo or high school equestrian events. The winner of the $1,000 scholarship is announced in May.The applications are due by April 15, with interviews on April 26. Applications are available at all area high schools or for more information, call Linda Jones at 328-6920.3I won1t be far away, for life goes on. Though you can1t see or touch me, I1ll be near SCindy Ramunno of Eagle writes a weekly column for the Daily.