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.
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. “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.”
“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.
PHOTO CREDIT: Tyler Roberts / Dakota West