Nielsen, 36, passed away Tuesday evening after being struck and fatally injured by a minivan while riding his bike on the Southern Parkway. He worked as a nurse in the intensive care unit at Dixie Regional Medical Center and was also part of the Life Flight crew. His passion was competing in triathlons; in June, he earned his crowning achievement of finishing the 2013 Ironman Boise. Nielsen left behind a wife, four children and numerous friends, co-workers and competitors who will miss him greatly.
The “Booyah! for Braydon” tribute ride began on the Southern Parkway, near the location of the accident that claimed Nielsen’s life, and led to the Washington East Stake Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Washington Fields, where his funeral service was held at 10 a.m.
”It feels really good to be here,” cyclist Jody Hanks said. “We want to support him and his family and who he left behind.”
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Videocast by Samantha Tommer, St. George News
All of the cyclists who participated wrote Nielsen’s favorite expression, “Booyah!”, on their left leg. In the days since his untimely passing, “Booyah!” has served as not only a reminder of his energetic spirit and positive nature, but to encourage those who are coping with the loss of a dear friend and relative.
“I know for myself I have not been on my bike since the day of the accident,” said Colleen Rue, one of the event’s organizers. “It is kind of a way to heal our wounds.”
Nielsen was active in the community and well-known among local fitness enthusiasts. The ride was organized so that his fellow athletes could honor his memory, though it also served as a reminder of how important it is for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to share the road wisely and safely.
Following the funeral, cyclists escorted the hearse bearing Nielsen’s casket to its final resting place. The Life Flight helicopter performed a fly-over in tribute.
Family friends will hold a fundraising bake sale for Nielsen’s wife and children Sept. 14, from 7 a.m. to noon at the Coral Canyon LDS chapel.
If you are interested in making a donation to the family to help pay for funeral and other costs, inquire about the Braydon Nielsen “Booyah!” Memorial Fund at any local Wells Fargo bank. Cyclists can also purchase special “Booyah!” merchandise from St. George Cycling, which benefits the Nielsen family.
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