Cute boy No. 47 clicked with girls

Boy-oh-boy, that Bo Durkop is cute.

I wouldn’t ordinarily say such a thing about a 17-year-old Snohomish kid, you know I wouldn’t. Just this once, I can get away with it because Bo is officially cute.

He’s got green eyes. He’s a Libra. He likes ESPN, geometry, playfulness, a pretty smile, a sense of humor and cereal. Those are official Bo stats.

Bo is boy No. 47 in the year 2000 series of Boy Crazy! trading cards.

The cards, made by Virginia-based Decipher Inc. and sold in sets of nine for $3, are available at Target and other stores across the country. In all, there were 363 cards this year. A new crop of boys has been chosen for 2001.

Bo is cute on his card, and boy, he’s cute in person. Polite and well dressed, too.

But he’s not the cutest, not officially.

The company’s boy-of-the-year honor goes to Tony Rhodes, 15, of Virginia Beach, Va.

Think of Bo and Tony as the Al Gore and George W. Bush of the Boy Crazy! world. In balloting between Nov. 27 and Dec. 10, voters could go online to www.boycrazy.com and click on their favorite trading-card boy.

“I don’t think I ever had time to vote for myself,” said Bo, a Snohomish High School junior who works 15 hours a week at a J.C. Penney store.

Bo and Tony weathered a primary election of sorts. They were among 40 boys of the week chosen from the original 363 by an online audience.

“Tony, the boy who won, had an overwhelming number, he got 24 percent of all the votes. I don’t really want to know that,” Bo said last week when he dropped by The Herald to bring me a trading card.

Bo did earn a respectable number of clicks.

“I know he was in the top 10,” said Decipher spokeswoman Lisa Larson. There were some 14,000 votes total, she said. Larson couldn’t say whether all the voters were 12-year-old girls. “We had an exit poll, and one question was ‘What is your age?’ But we’re still looking at that,” she said.

Wednesday, the day Gore faced the music and Bush became president-elect, a Boy Crazy! crew showed up at Tony’s Virginia Beach high school.

“He’s a freshman, and we surprised him in health class. He was overwhelmed,” Larson said.

Tony left health class with a new Volkswagen Beetle, a $10,000 college scholarship and a yearlong modeling contract. There was no consolation prize for Bo, nor were the boys compensated for appearing on the cards.

Nevertheless, from Bo’s point of view, the experience was a kick. “It was really cool,” he said, although some pals gave him a hard time.

Bo’s road to trading-card fame began two years ago at a mall in San Antonio, Texas, where his family then lived.

“I was walking through the mall, and a guy said, ‘Why don’t you try out for this?’ I filled out the paperwork, they took photos, and I thought, whatever happens, happens,” he said.

Early this year, after the family had moved to Snohomish, his mother Peggy Durkop was going through mail late one night.

“She woke me at 2 a.m. and said, ‘You’re on a Boy Crazy! card.’ I thought, ‘Oh my God.’ I had kind of forgotten all about it,” Bo said.

He’s had fun answering fans’ e-mail, which was screened and forwarded by the company. The boys’ last names weren’t used on the cards.

“They would be saying, ‘Oh, you’re so hot,’ or, ‘I love you,’ or ‘I like basketball, too.’ The company would send it to me, and I’d answer back through them,” Bo said. “I loved answering it, and a lot of people would keep up the e-mail. They’d say, ‘Hey, what’s up? How was your day?’

“But toward the end, it started to be stressful and a lot of work.”

Bo’s solution? Brace yourself, all you preteen girls who wrote to Bo. His mom filled in, firing off sweet e-mails in her cute son’s name.

He may be a trading-card crush for girls, but Bo sounds like a typical teen-age boy to me. He listens to Blink 182, scarfs down four bowls of Wheaties a day and thrives on his favorite drink, Pepsi.

He’s interested in drama, would like to try modeling, and may be aimed for a career as a clothing buyer. Whatever he does, he can someday show his grandkids that trading card.

I asked if he now knows how Gore feels.

“No, not even close,” he said. “Anyway, I would have voted for Bush.”

I’ve been asked whether there are Girl Crazy! cards. Of course not. Who would buy them? I have a teen-age boy, so I know how they spend their pocket money.

You spend it on Blink 182 and Pepsi, right guys? And mom buys milk and Wheaties by the truckload.

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