The city of Owensboro is unveiling the statue of native son Nicky Hayden on Friday, June 8, to honor the international motorcycle racing champion known as "The Kentucky Kid," who died last year in a bicycle accident in Italy.
Hayden’s family had a dirt track on their property and he grew up riding and racing. He turned pro when he was 16, and that made him a rather unusual student at Owensboro Catholic High School. The school’s assistant principal Kurt Osborne was a teacher when Hayden was in school.
“He was gone racing so much, and you know, he would miss from time to time, but when he would come back home, he could just be Nicky, the kid that all the other kids have grown up with, that they’ve known their whole life," said Osborne. "So, you know, there wasn’t quite the expectation or quite the pressure that maybe he was feeling when he was overseas racing.”
Hayden was the American Motorcyclist Association Superbike champion in 2002. He won the MotoGP World Championship in 2006.
The 35-year-old Hayden died in May 2017 after being struck by a car when he was training on his bicycle Misano, Italy. A memorial garden has been created there in his honor.
Nicky Hayden’s statue in Owensboro will be in front of the convention center, so visitors to his hometown can honor “The Kentucky Kid” who carried that nickname proudly around the world.
The unveiling of the statue of Nicky Hayden will be at the Owensboro Convention center Friday, June 8 at 5:30 p.m. Owensboro Mayor Tom Watson will also proclaim June 9 Nicky Hayden Day, the 6/9 date that represents his racing number 69. The ceremony is free and open to the public.