The fourth annual Nicky Hayden Memorial Ride took place Friday evening as a way to honor and carry on the legacy of the late pro motorcycle racer and Owensboro native.
The event drew a crowd of roughly 200 riders and many more spectators. In addition, Mayor Tom Watson officially declared June 9 as Nicky Hayden day in honor of Hayden’s signature number 69.
The memorial ride was just one event in the larger Kentucky Motorsports Week whose continuing Saturday events can be found here.
Organizer Ben Skiadas said the event was established as way to honor not only Hayden, but the rich motorsports history that Owensboro has.
All proceeds of the week go to the Nicky Hayden Memorial Foundation, which was founded after Hayden’s passing to help support children in the Owensboro-Daviess County community.
“(Nicky) took pride in being from Owensboro,” said Roger Hayden, Nicky’s brother. “He didn’t always ask for recognition. Now that he’s passed away we wanted to honor Nicky by helping out with other charities and keeping his legacy alive.”
The foundation announced two $3,450 donations at the memorial ride, with one going to CASA of Ohio Valley and the other going to Beverly’s Hearty Slice.
Although Hayden’s legacy is kept alive through charity work, Roger said that it is also kept alive through a strong sense of remembrance.
“We went to a race last night at Rockport and almost every kid had a 69 sticker on his bike,” Roger said. “Every kid has Nicky as their inspiration.”
The memorial ride highlighted how that remembrance stretches outside of Owensboro. Many of the riders at the event were from across the country.
Nick Eusanio from Columbiana, Ohio, talked about what brought him to the event.
“This is my very first bike and it’s his edition,” Eusanio said. “It means a lot to own one of the few editions that they made. He was the Kentucky Kid. He won the MotoGP. That’s pretty outstanding for somebody from the United States.”
Roger shared what he thought Nicky would think of the event today.
“My dad passed away recently and it’s kind of like a celebration for both of their lives,” Roger said. “I can promise you they’re both looking down and smiling.”