Family, Fans Pay Respects to Nicky Hayden

Thousands paying respects to a motor sports world champion.

While Nicky Hayden did not serve in the armed forces, he was an ambassador for his native home. And bikes filled the streets today in his name.

They came here to St. Stephen Cathedral from across the Tri-State, and across the country. Family, friends, and fans paid their respects, and to take part in one last ride in honor of Nicky Hayden.

From near and far, they lined Locust Street to say goodbye to the 'Kentucky Kid'.

"It's overwhelming. We walked from one end to the other, it's packed," said Sheila Kessinger of Owensboro.

"Anybody you talk to, there's never a bad word. He was one of those guys who was gracious in victory and defeat, which is rare," adds David Vaughn of Chicago.

Some have known him since he was a kid.

"Just as a kid that I knew that used to ride around Panther, Kentucky on a dirt bike, and my boys rode with him before he graduated in to superstardom," recalled Tommy Hunt of Lewisport.

Thousands of bikers rode in the funeral procession around the city to Hayden's final resting place.

"Pretty sure that Earl is really going to enjoy it because the more chaos, I was told, the more he would enjoy it," said Mike McFadden, who organized the funeral procession. For him, it's a chance for the Haydens to start the healing process.

"That's what we're here for, start the beginning process of helping the Haydens heal, and helping everybody else heal," McFadden says. "I think it's a good way to be able to do that."

As the procession went down streets, and the sounds of motorcycles faded, the memories of Nicky Hayden keep going in those who knew him.

"He was the Owensboro boy, the Kentucky Kid," says Hunt.

Hayden is survived by his parents, fiancee, brothers and sisters, and numerous other relatives.

(This story was originally published May 29th, 2017)


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