The first annual Erickson Scott commemorative Italian scooter rally began the morning of June 2 with a festive Sunday brunch of powdered doughnuts, pizza, and Red Bull on the rocks, splash of vodka optional. The gathering point for the mass ride was Soulflower, a club-culture clothing and record boutique on South Broadway. Inside the shop, drum-and-bass electronic dance beats chattered and boomed from wall-mounted speakers as the party spilled outside onto the sidewalk, where the curb was lined with vintage Vespa and Lambretta motorbikes, and conversation was interrupted by the buzz of two-stroke engines signaling each new arrival.
Dubbed "ES1" by co-organizers Pamela Anderson and Ric Blazich, Sunday's rally was held on the one-year anniversary of the still-unsolved murder of Denver resident Eric "Erickson" Scott. A charismatic punk-rocker, freelance homeless youth counselor, child-abuse survivor, marijuana dealer, world traveler and hardcore scooter enthusiast, Scott's colorful life came to an end when he was bludgeoned to death in his Baker district apartment ("A Hard Hit," January 24).
"We didn't want today to be a sad occasion, all of us sitting home by ourselves, being depressed, thinking about how we got the news one year ago," Anderson said at the rally. "Erickson wouldn't have wanted that. He would have wanted those of us who were blessed enough to call him a friend to all get together and have a good time in his honor. So that's what we're doing. We're trying not to be too serious."
As if to punctuate Anderson's comments, Trip, a heavily tattooed representative of the Ace Scooter Club, one of several rival outfits to participate in Sunday's ride, crossed Broadway, stood beneath the marquee of an adult bookstore, then dropped his trousers to display his prodigious, fish-belly-white derriere.
"I'll take that as my cue," said a Bottle Rocket Scooter Club rider, donning his helmet.
In short order, drinks were drained, cigarettes were crushed beneath black boot heels, and the engines of 29 scooters were ignited to undertake the twenty-minute journey to Mount Olivet Cemetery in Wheat Ridge. There the riders convened with a separate group of Scott's friends who were waiting in a pickup truck. As a pack, the mourners navigated a range of emerald grass until they came to Scott's unmarked burial plot.
Though he was not poor, Scott was buried in a pauper's grave, in spite of his well-known wish to be cremated. He had articulated this preference, friends say, in a last will and testament he kept in a safe in his apartment. Unfortunately, that safe went missing the night of Scott's murder, along with $6,000 in cash and nearly $2,000 worth of pot. Because he was an orphan, Scott had no blood relatives to argue in his behalf once he was dead. And because his many friends were not related to him by blood, their word meant nothing to state officials, who argued that they were just following procedure when they ordered Scott buried cheaply after his possessions were auctioned off to strangers.
In the months following his murder, friends of Scott's gradually pooled enough money to buy him a headstone, which is now on order and scheduled to be put in place on June 15. The participants in Sunday's ceremony found his grave marked only by a purple pinwheel and two dozen dried red roses.
Trip passed a 24-ounce can of beer around the loose circle that had formed at the site, and everyone took a sip. When the can made its way back to Trip, he took a last swig, then stood over the grave and poured the remainder over the roses.
"Only the best, homie," he said.
Several couples knelt by the grave to unfurl bouquets of fresh flowers, including a batch of blue carnations chosen to match the color of Scott's dyed hair. One rider placed a full bottle of Olde English malt liquor among the blossoms. Another left an offering of a half-smoked joint, along with the words "I miss you my friend."
Then no one spoke for five or six minutes that stretched in the silence, until those around the grave, as if on some intuitive signal, began to exchange hugs and returned to their scooters and mounted up.
Half an hour later, the rally breezed through the stink of fermenting grain that thickens the strangely cool air outside Coors Brewery en route to the Buffalo Rose, a biker bar in downtown Golden. There the riders ordered a first round of 32 kamikaze shots -- one for each of the 31 drinkers in their bunch, plus one for Scott.
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"To Erickson," the riders shouted in unison, then downed their shots.
Later, with the crack of colliding pool balls in the background, Anderson said this year's "ES1" rally was "only the beginning of a tradition. We're going to do this ride every year. Next year will be 'ES2,' for Erickson squared, then 'ES3,' for Erickson to the third power. We're never going to forget him, but hopefully, each year it will get a little easier to deal with him being gone."
She gestured toward the untouched 32nd kamikaze shot, sitting at the edge of a table in front of an empty seat.
"A couple of months after Erickson died, I was still having a really hard time with it, and I was at a scooter rally in Oklahoma, and I was crying with a friend of mine on a hotel balcony when I saw a shooting star. It was a really huge one that hit the atmosphere and exploded. And I took that as a sign from Erickson, like he was saying, 'Just be cool. I'm okay.' The problem now is, every time I get sad like that, I'm always looking for another sign."