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City of Owensboro Unveils Nicky Hayden Statue


Last weekend, Owensboro, Kentucky, Nicky Hayden’s home, unveiled a statue honoring the deceased MotoGP champion. The press release below from the City describes the ceremony and outlines some of Hayden’s accomplishments as a professional motorcycle racer, including the 2006 MotoGP championship and the 2002 AMA Superbike championship. Here is the press release:

OWENSBORO, Kentucky — This evening in a special ceremony, the City of Owensboro revealed a statue celebrating the life and accomplishments of the late motorcycle road racing champion Nicky Hayden, who was born and raised in the city. Held on the front lawn of the Owensboro Convention Center, the ceremony was a part of a regular summer event called Friday After 5. Attended by locals and Nicky Hayden fans from as far away as the U.K., the ceremony included a speech by Mayor Tom Watson, who proclaimed tomorrow Nicky Hayden Day, the date June 9 referencing Nicky’s racing number, 69.

“We were proud to unveil the statue today honoring Nicky,” Mayor Watson said. “He was not only a world-class motorcycle champion, he was a world-class person, and we are proud that he called Owensboro home. We know his legacy will live on forever.”

Commissioned by the city and the Hayden family (Nicky’s parents, siblings, and fiancée, as well as members of his extended family), the bronze sculpture was created by Loveland, Colorado’s George Lundeen, who was in attendance with the Haydens.

“This event and this sculpture mean a great deal to our family,” said Nicky’s older brother, Tommy. “In the year since his death, we’ve been blown away by the outpouring of support from locals and people all over the world. A number of Nicky’s fans have told me that they would like to have a destination where they can pay their respects to their hero, and this statue will serve that purpose. In addition, I hope it will serve as a tangible reminder to Owensboro citizens that it’s possible to achieve great things while remaining true to your community, just like Nicky did.”

Before his May 22, 2017, death from injuries incurred in a bicycle incident, Nicky Hayden earned a number of national and international accolades, including the 1997 AMA Dirt Track Horizon award, the 1999 AMA Ricky Graham Rookie of the Year award, the 1999 AMA Pro Athlete of the Year award, the 1999 AMA 600cc Supersport Championship, the 2002 Daytona 200 victory, the 2002 AMA Superbike Championship, the 2003 MotoGP Rookie of the Year award, the 2006 Cycle News Rider of the Year award, and the 2006 MotoGP World Championship.


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30 Comments

  1. charlie says:

    I think it’s great and very appropriate. A hometown hero that becomes a world champion! He raced all over the world against the best riders other counties had, and managed to become the best in the world for that time, and he was from Owensboro in Kentucky in the United States.

    Right down the road in Louisville Kentucky a few years prior there was a man who was not nearly as humble, not nearly as sportsmanlike, not nearly as patriotic, and even though he was called the world champion, I don’t remember him going all over the world to compete with other country’s best, he was not only called the world champion but named “Athlete of the Century”.

    I wish the USA had more athletes with the values that Nicky had as he represented our country to the rest of the world. It pleases me to see the young men on the podium take off their hats and sing along as their national anthem is played. The statue is well deserved.

    • ApriliaRST says:

      > Right down the road in Louisville Kentucky a few years prior there was a man who was not nearly as humble, not nearly as sportsmanlike, not nearly as patriotic, and even though he was called the world champion, I don’t remember him going all over the world to compete with other country’s best, he was not only called the world champion but named “Athlete of the Century”.

      ?? And who would that be?? Ali?

      Funny you would mention that. Funny in a peculiar perhaps racist way.

      • charlie says:

        Well, I wasn’t referring to Secretariat. However, you’ve obviously misunderstood what you read. I referred to a lot of differences between how the world perceives one hero over another, but the only reference I made to race was as in “motorcycle racing”. I guess there’s never going to be a way to figure how people will perceive anything said.

  2. Fuzzyson says:

    I’m a Hayden fan all the way, but man this statue is tacky! While Nicky Hayden is an extremely talented and amazing individual in his chosen career, that doesn’t make him a hero worthy of a public monument.

    • red says:

      He’s a hometown hero. It’s completely appropriate for a statue there.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      If the statue were in DC or something, sure. But if his hometown wants to memorialize him, then more power to them.

  3. Ducdynasty says:

    We met Nicky at Indy. He was a kind and passionate human being. The statue is a well-deserved honor. Good on you, Owensboro!

  4. ApriliaRST says:

    Nicky’s a hero because he showed what an individual can do; be successful in a very competitive environment, yet still retain one’s own honesty and humility. We miss you, Nicky.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Nicky’s a hero because he showed what an individual can do; be successful in a very competitive environment, yet still retain one’s own honesty and humility. We miss you, Nicky.

  6. RoadToad says:

    That is so nice, and a good looking statue to boot. I’m glad they got to do that for the family. This past year must have been trying for them. He seemed like a really good kid. For the Nay-sayers: Any salute to motorcycling or riders is a good thing in my book. I love bikes and riding. Sorry you haven’t discovered that passion yet. Hope you do some day.

  7. Tom R says:

    Nothing against Hayden, but…uh, really?

    • TimC says:

      Um…. I might say the same thing re: your response….

      Heroes deserve recognition – and this is pretty standard for a local hero. Well-deserved and nicely done.

      Perhaps you should read (the increasingly-numerous-in posts “Anonymous”‘s post just below, it sums this one up nicely.

      • TF says:

        The pannier on my adv bike sports a Nicky 69 sticker and always will….a sticker that Nicky gave to my daughter at Indy one year when his arm was in a cast and he could not sign autographs. A national hero and all around great guy. The statue should be bigger.

    • Dino says:

      If you do a little searching, you will understand. He was the definition of small town kid, making it big. And seems like it never went to his head. His whole family was about racing. His brothers Tommy and Roger Lee also professional racers. His whole family is deeply tied to the town.
      AMA racing champion in different series, he made it to the world stage, taking the MotoGP title one year, but still talked about how much he loves going back home. Seemed like everyone either flat out liked him, or at least respected him. No small feat for anyone in any profession.
      For his hometown to show that love back is even better! June 9th, clever play on the number plate he ran most his career. Wished I could get there for the day, but will have to get a raincheck! I will get there..

      • Tim says:

        Well said, Dino. You hit on everything I intended to say. Even the ultra-competitive guys who don’t get along with any of their other competitors seemed to genuinely like Nicky.

        I still hate it that Honda built a bike to fit Pedrosa (instead of Nicky) the season after Nicky won them a championship. I would have liked to have seen him have a shot at defending the title on a bike that actually fit him.

        • mickey says:

          Nicky was a great person and a great competitor on most any type of motorcycle.

          With regards to the second paragraph, this is not the time to talk about that but that info is just wrong, and I wish people would quit continuing to pass along that bad info.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicky_Hayden

          • VLJ says:

            You can hate it all you want, mickey, but it will never cease to be true. Honda clearly prioritized Dani over their reigning world champion, and all they received in return from Dani was a very classy, loyal, serviceable caddie for their real title contenders.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Ah, Mickey… Let it lie, my friend. Let it lie. Haha! When it comes to Hayden and Rossi, people are going to believe what they want.

        • Randy Talburt says:

          My thoughts exactly. I still have a problem forgiving Honda or Pedrosa. Nicky never badmouthed, or seemed to hold a grudge against them. I loved that he and Rossi could never come to grips with the Ducati. I’m sure he would’ve retired in Owensboro even after sampling all the greatest cities in the world.

    • Dave says:

      Plz remove your post, tom r. Show some respect for one of the hardest working, class acts to ever race a motorcycle. Seriously.

  8. Anonymous says:

    A wonderful memorial to Nicky.
    He was a example of honor and decency in an super competitive sport that can often bring out the worst in people.
    Love the way he always showed love for his home, his roots, and how he proudly represented his Country.

  9. Ricardo says:

    Well deserved of this great champion Nicky Hayden, I attended the COTA races this year and there was a huge America flag with the number 69 to honor Nicky, it was a great experience to see it. Next trip is to Owensboro…

  10. dt-175 says:

    ricky graham award…jeeez…