Bo Cottrell roasted and toasted for a good cause

The Colorado Statesman

If you’ve been around politics in Colorado for any length of time, the name Bo Cottrell is clearly recognizable. Bo knows, and it seems everyone knows Bo. He’s been chairman of the Arapahoe County Republican Party, an avid supporter of GOP causes and candidates over the years, and even ran for the Statehouse himself back in 1996.

But his many friends also know that Bo’s varied interests extend well beyond the political realm, and as former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo entered into the Congressional Record in 2001, the multi-talented Cottrell has a most diverse and unique history.

Cottrell was an investigator in the Jefferson County sheriff’s office in the late 1960s; and about the same time formed and wrote for a musical group called The Lawmen, made up, no surprise, of law officers. They toured and even had a hit single called “Dam Good Country” in the Washington, D.C. area which was so popular that the C&W group went to the White House for a visit with President Nixon.


Bo Cottrell, the “roastee” of the evening, gazes at his wife Lynne, who can’t keep from laughing herself during her husband’s own comments that night.

His connections to the entertainment industry were leveraged to help Easter Seals in their fundraising and awareness of children’s health issues, and eventually vaulted him to the Make A Wish Foundation where he served as special events director.

American Furniture’s Jake Jabs, right, reflects on his long history with Cottrell on the charity circuit, and provides an example of his fine auctioneering skills at the roast.

In 1990, Cottrell was presented the “Point of Light” Award by President George Bush, Sr. in a White House presentation.

Musician and entertainer Bo Cottrell, center, strums his guitar with fellow Lawmen Steve Phelps and Eddie Johnson as part of the entertainment of the evening.
Photos by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

When he was governor, Bill Owens appointed Cottrell to the Parole Board where he presided as chairman. And after years of involvement with many civic and charitable organizations, Cottrell, along with his wife Lynne, were instrumental in heading up TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a resource for anyone who has suffered the loss of a military loved one. The organization has assisted over 35,000 surviving family members, casualty officers and caregivers by providing peer-based emotional support and companionship, grief and trauma resources, seminars, case work assistance, and 24/7 crisis intervention for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces.

TAPS was the recipient of funds raised Sept. 20 when a large audience of friends gathered at the Red Lion Hotel in Aurora to roast — and toast — the colorful Cottrell.

The roast roster featured an eclectic group, consisting of some well known Coloradans: former state Sen. Nancy Spence, KOA’s Mike Rosen, local Denver GOP activist Booker Graves, attorney Nathan Chambers, furniture maven Jake Jabs, KNUS’s Peter Boyles, Brig. General Steve Ritchie, retired Denver Police Captain Jerry Kennedy, and Tancredo. Ralph Achilles served as emcee, and other roasters came from out of state to rib their old friend. A few who couldn’t be there in person, such as Owens and former U.S. Senate candidate and beer magnate Pete Coors, sent touching letters which were read outloud.

Spence, who managed Cottrell’s House race in 1996, recalled giving the candidate his walking instructions and having to remind him that he couldn’t tell Hillary jokes on the campaign trail because they were sexist; nor Jesse Jackson jokes because they were racist; and jokes about Al Gore were banned because they were anti-environment. Cottrell was never politically correct, Spence reminded, and ended up losing his bid for the Statehouse. “But he brings laughter into politics and is so much fun,” she said.

Radio personality Mike Rosen praised his closest personal friend “Joe” Cottrell, and offered several gag jokes that made the eyes roll. Example: “Bo was a cop but not always quick on uptake. He was told to turn the amp on so he turned and caressed it softly and said he loved it.”

Booker Graves, who is black, kidded that his appearance on the dais was so Spence wouldn’t be the only token. He said that Bo always wanted to make him feel comfortable so he changed the name of his BlackBerry to African-AmericanBerry.

Attorney Nathan Chambers, who revealed an uncanny sense of humor, related how Cottrell first appeared on the political scene about the same time as the Beatles. Not the musical group, but the life form.

Retired police captain Kennedy, who has known Cottrell for 40 years, said that after listening to some of the jabs against his old friend, he’s got some “real shi-” on him now.

Kennedy’s remarks, coming late in the evening after most of the other roasters, were a tad on the racy side. We cannot relay many of them in this family newspaper, but we’ll give you a little hint about one that involved a spoon in the mouth and a banana in another part of the body and the punch line was “cereal killer.”

It really was all in fun.

The food and wine were good.

The crowd was appreciative.

The entertainment, consisting of an appearance of the reunited Law Men, brought back memories.

And the proceeds went to a great cause. In other words, this roast was well done.