North Idaho

Memorial rodeo to honor victims of boat crash

Memorial rodeo to honor victims of boat crash

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho. --- Funny, smart, and helpful. That's how the family describes Justin Honken, one of three people killed in a Lake Coeur d'Alene boat crash in late July.

Friends and family of Justin Honken and Justin Luhr are having a memorial event in their honor, centered around something they both loved: rodeo.

It's still difficult for Heather Honken to wrap her head around what happened to her only brother.

"It;s been unreal," she said. "It doesn't seem possible that [in] one instant my best friend, my baby brother was taken away from us."

On July 30th, Honken and his friends Justin Luhr and Caitlin Breeze died when another boat collided with theirs.

"It's been extremely hard, not only for our family, but everybody whose lives were touched by these three people on the boat," Honken said.

Heather says her brother was helpful and hardworking.

"He was a big goofball. He would do anything and everything to make everybody laugh."

Justin had a passion for steer wrestling.

"He really got into it when he went to Northwest College and continued to rodeo on there," she explained, "and then he was going down to Dixie State and was going to rodeo for their team down there as well."

That's how he became friends with Justin Luhr.

"During the summer he would travel with Justin Luhr all over the place up here, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and do some more steer wrestlings."

So, it just makes sense that their memorial will include steer wrestling, team roping, music, food, and dancing.

"This event is just basically a celebration of life to honor these boys in a way that they wanted to be honored," Heather said, "and have fun and do it without the tears and just make it a time to enjoy everybody's company and honor them in doing something they loved doing in their life."

Heather says that's what Justin would have wanted.

"He wouldn't want anybody to be upset or sad about this, he wants people to remember him laughing or his jokes."

Heather says she's grateful for the people who have volunteered their time, given donations, and come together to make this event possible, and celebrate her brother who touched the lives of so many.

For more information about the event, visit