If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
A few weeks ago, Piedmont was named the UFO Capital of Missouri. With that, local leaders hope it would draw people to the community and improve the economy.
Beyond anyone’s imagine was that it would draw national media to the community. On Wednesday, a journalist from ESPN arrived in town. Adedotun “Dotun” Akintoye spent three days in town researching and talking to area residents about the 1973 UFO sightings.
Why would ESPN be interested in the story? Akintoye said that because the original sighting was by a Clearwater High School basketball coach and some players.
Next month, Akintoye will return to the community. He plans to conduct more interviews as well as hold a town hall meeting to hear people’s UFO stories and to ask questions.
Reggie Bone, Clearwater High School basketball coach and his team first sighted a UFO on the night of Wednesday, February 21, 1973 when returning to Piedmont from a basketball game. All five of Coach Bone’s team members: Randall Holmes, Cary Barks, Greg Twidwell Tim Martin and Fred Allen, reported seeing a UFO when returning from a basketball game. The coach and five youths first spotted a bright shaft of light beaming down out of the sky while driving along U.S. Highway 60 near Ellsinore, MO. As the car pulled onto Route 49 near Brushy Creek, they saw the lights again.
It was reported that Bone said he stopped the car on the shoulder of the highway about 10 feet off the ground and maybe about 200 yards away it was impossible to determine the size or shape because of the darkness. They saw four lights – like maybe coming from portholes – red, green, amber and white about three or four feet apart, all in a row. They watched it for 5-10 minutes and then it went reportedly went directly up in the air with no noise and disappeared over a hill.
Akintoye stopped at the Piedmont Chamber of Commerce and the Wayne County Historical Society for more specific information about coach Bone’s initial sighting that stimulated local and national interest back in 1973. Mike and Sue Henry, Waylan Harris, and Dawn Sperry Allen met with him. Kim Combs of the Wayne County Journal-Banner dropped in and shared additional historic newspaper coverage about the UFO incident. Akintyoe spent parts of two days at the newspaper pouring through old newspapers reeading first-hand accounts of UFOs.
The visiting reporter also made connections with two Historical Society board members, Mr. and Mrs. Henry. The Henry’s were scheduled that same evening to attend an event state representative Chris Dinkins was to appear, as Mrs. Dinkins was instrumental in making Piedmont and surrounding areas, the UFO Capitals of Missouri. Reporter Akintoye was to interview Chris Dinkins to obtain additional information about the individual basketball team members who had experienced sighting the UFO in 1973.
On Friday morning, Akintoye met with Dennis Hovis whois an authority on the 1973 UFO sightings. Hovis was the general manager of KPWB radio station in 1973 and interviewed many people who saw UFOs.
On his next trip, Akintoye hopes to interview some of members of the 1973 basketball team as well as meet with Butch Burch, who was assistant coach that year, and Reggie Bone’s widow, Mary.
Akintoye has been employed at ESPN nearly seven years. He received a research fellowship from the Nieman Foundation for Journal at Harvard that lasted from August 2022 to June 2023. He has also worked from The Oprah Magazine and The Offing Magazine.