Hundreds bid adieu to Bogenrief in Durango |

Hundreds bid adieu to Bogenrief in Durango

Jesse Harlan Alderman
Special to the DailyDaryle Bogenrief, an avid rafter, died doing what he loved on the upper Animas River.

DURANGO – As friends and family gathered Tuesday at the funeral of Daryle Bogenrief, the Avon guide who died on the upper Animas River, an overflow crowd of about 300 mourners spilled from a packed chapel to remember the fallen rafter.At least a half hour before the service, a modest crowd began swelling into a wide throng outside Hood Mortuary, as river aficionados in sunglasses and sandals bowed their heads beside family and friends in ties and slacks.The popular outdoorsman was only 25 years old, but had been a fixture at some of Durango’s seminal institutions. He attended Fort Lewis College and worked as a guide for Mild to Wild Rafting, a ski instructor at Durango Mountain Resort and a bartender at Colorado Pongas on Eighth Street.Inside the chapel, Bogenrief was remembered in a eulogy by his friend David Vandenberg. Bogenrief’s wife, Angie, friend Mike Rosebush and the Rev. Doug Anderson also delivered tearful speeches. Anderson married the couple at the First Presbyterian Church in Durango last August. He is Angie Bogenrief’s cousin.After the funeral, Bogenrief’s family hosted a memorial service at Rotary Park along the southern bank of the Animas.Bogenrief and Scott Licona, a tourist from Lumberton, Texas, drowned LAST Friday when a boat handled by Bogenrief flipped in a harrowing set of Class 5 rapids.

The stretch, known as Ten Mile Rapids, is south of Silverton in San Juan County.Friends said Bogenrief enjoyed the turbulent and challenging section of whitewater and would often vOlunteer for trips to the upper Animas River.Throughout Durango on Tuesday, friends said memories of Bogenrief began to crystallize.Matt Nimetz, ski school manager at the resort, said Bogenrief was a gifted athlete with a natural ability to succeed.He said Bogenrief earned promotions – first at Durango Mountain Resort and then during the past two seasons at Vail Mountain – faster than all other instructors. After his sixth season, Bogenrief became an apprentice examiner.

“In a span of six years, he went up like a level a year,” Nimetz said. “No one ever does that.” But Nimetz said it was Bogenrief’s flirtation with ice hockey that served as the best metaphor for his personality. When Bogenrief joined the San Juan Slayers, Nimetz’s team in a competitive local league, he barely knew how to ice skate.”He went into it having never really played hockey before,” Nimetz said. “Soon he was good for a goal every three games or so. He was a natural goal scorer. We could put him on a line with guys who were better, but he’d find a way to score.”Few ever speak of Bogenrief without mentioning his sense of humor, said Erik Leirfallom, the resort’s ski-school supervisor.”He was always the center of attention,” he said. “It was his sense of humor. It was so unique.”

Bogenrief was the hub of activity for one last time Tuesday before placid skies blackened over Rotary Park.Between speeches during the funeral, the song “Where Are You Going?” by the Dave Matthews Band played over silence of the mourners.The chorus was audible even to the last rows of the crowd outside the chapel.”Where you are is where I belong/I do know where you go is where I want to be/Where are going? Where do you go?”Vail, Colorado

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