"Everyone has to sail on the ocean of grief, so let's make it a cruise ship and not a dinghy"

(Riverton, Wyo.) – There are cemetery headstones and then there are monuments. A Riverton company has been recognized by its peers nationwide as the “World’s Best” when it comes to cemetery memorials. Capturing that honor, and a special television show segment coming later this year, is Bott Monument on West Main. “Anyone can slap a name on a piece of rock, but we create memorial monuments that are unique and reflect a person’s life,” said owner Drew Bott. “We are the Ferrari dealer of monuments.” [image: Inline image 4] *This monument for Tammy Milleson features a sword with roses and an apple that opens for visitors to enjoy a mint. (Bott Monument / Pitchengine Communities) * Not a volume dealer, Bott said his company “is one of the elite custom monument makers in the country. “I’d rather do 10 a year than 1,000. That’s what we work for.” Bott explained that the name of his company was offered up by his competitors around the country to be on the “World’s Best” program. “They interviewed between six and twelve other business, and we were chosen. It’s pretty darn amazing for it to be in Riverton.” “When people come in, I’m not a salesman, I won’t sell a thing,” he said. “I’ll make the coolest thing in the world and tell you the cost. People appreciate that. I could take advantage of anybody who comes in here because they don’t know the costs. I want you to want to go to the cemetery and be happy with what you see there.” Bott is an artist at heart and said that he loves to make art. “It just goes into a cemetery.” Examples of some of Bott’s work include a child’s monument with a music box that plays Pachelbel's Canon for visitors and a toy box with teddy bear inside. He’s also done a full seven-foot long stainless steel model of a semi-tractor trailer memorial with working lights and a horn for a truck driver. The license plate is the man’s marriage date to his wife. That memorial is in the Meeteetse Cemetery. [image: Inline image 5] *A seven-foot long semi-truck with working lights and horn is in the Meeteetse Cemetery to memorialize a truck driver. (Bott Monument / Pitchengine Communities)* Bott Monument also has an in-house company that deals exclusively with metal monuments. Steeled, Incorporated, is the name. Drew Bott customized one monument for a teacher, again out of stainless steel, that contains an apple that opens that is filled with mints for a visitor to enjoy. “That was her, everyone said she always had mints on her desk and at home and delighted in sharing them, so that’s what I made.” “Everyone has to sail on the ocean of grief, so let’s make it a cruise ship and not a dinghy,” he said. “Who says you can’t have a toy box, a music box, a truck. Or an apple filled with mints? I want to change the whole feeling of going to a cemetery. I’m trying to reverse the trend of just a name on a stone.” Bott explained that one client from Rangely, Colorado, came in and she just talked about her 18-month old boy, who loved the Lightning McQueen racing car from the Pixar Movie Cars. “So I built a two-foot long McQueen car for her. She loved it. It was made out of aluminum, it took me 300 hours, but that’s what I do.” [image: Inline image 6] *The memorial features the signature of the deceased in stainless steel. (Bott Monument / Pitchengine Communities) * Bott said customers “have no clue what can be done. Tell me about the person and we’ll start from there.” Bott also did the WWII and Vietnam Veteran’s memorials in Cody, except for the Korean Memorial there, “but they called me to fix it,” he said. The walls of Bott’s office are filled with framed certificates and photos from the American Institute of Commemorative Art for the work the company has done around the country. “And we do it right here in Riverton,” he said. [image: Inline image 7] *Another example of a custom monument. (Bott Monument / Pitchengine Communities)* Folks who have been around awhile, remember Moore Monument, and might not know that Bott owned that business for 15 years before the name was changed. “Dad always praised Allen Moore and we bought the business from him when he retired.” Monument making is in the family history, five generations worth. “It all started with my great, great grandfather who apprenticed on the Salt Lake Temple. That was our proving ground,” he said. From there the company split with operations in Brigham City and in Ogden. “Dad and my grandpa expanded into Cheyenne, Green River, Riverton and some place in Nebraska, but we’ve pared that down now to only Riverton and Ogden. “I have four employees here, and my dad has 15 to 18 at Ogden. He is way larger than we are here. “ He noted that the two operations are separate companies. “His is the Mark H. Bott Co. and here we’re just Bott Monument. #county10 #news