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  Nostalgia ain't what it used to be

Friday, 27 November, 2020

Another Brother Gone

Date: 01 December, 2011

By: Chief

Imageust a very few days ago a friend and a fellow brother in the wind 'Monty' sent me an email saying:

"I just looked at the Sons Of Liberty Riders website. Apparently Animal has passed on? I believe he was younger than I, I will be 70 next birthday. Do you have some details?"

I read it ... not believing what I was reading ... yet knowing Monty never lies about anything (the truth is far too much fun) and as quickly as I could I dropped by the Sons of Liberty Riders website as well. Lo and behold on the opening page were the following words:

"This site in memory of Rick 'Animal' Henry. Co Founder and TRUE Freedom Fighter, you ARE missed my Brother."

Jesus H. Tap-dancing Christ. What is going on here? Is somebody playing some sort of nonsensical game with our heads? Who would do such a thing? I knew. I mean I just knew Animal could not have died. I'm only 57 and he is younger than me by maybe a year or two. Besides I had talked to Rick not all that long ago. When was it ... only about a year or so. Oh my God.

So I sent a quick email off to 'Hawk' asking just what in the world was going on. Earlier this evening I got a reply from him and this was part of the text:

"Rick went FAST! 2 weeks before he passed we were on the phone talking about my wife and I going out for a visit....and then he was gone. Pancreatic Cancer....I never even got to talk to him. He went down and pretty much never got back."

It is just not fair. Neither is life.

What a man

Rick Henry, Animal to his friends and, without any doubt, "look out, here he comes ... run" to politicians and enemies alike. He was, above all else, the epitome of an honorable man. And that my friends is the highest complement one man can give to his fellow man.

Tenacious? Yes, in spades. Once he locked on to something that was it. He had it and wouldn't let go until it was straightened out. Getting rid of motorcycle helmet laws, which has taken decades — he never gave up. Yeah, I would call that tenacious — with a capital 'T'. How about you? I thought so.

Rick was also a soft spoken man. Yet he was always able to get his point across — to the consternation of many. Remember Teddy Roosevelt's famous quote:

"Speak softly but carry a big stick; you will go far."

Well, Rick did exactly that because — he was the big stick. But you know I never, not once, heard him raise his voice or become involved in a fight. He was better than that.

And a preacher too

That's right. An honest to God (no pun intended) member of the clergy. Indeed, it was Rick, the Right Reverend 'Animal', who married my wife and I on the east deck of the property overlooking a pasture. He even wore his 'tuxedo teeshirt' for the occasion. It was so cool.

What else was cool about that wonderful week was that not only did he come out from his home in Arizona a few days early — he brought his wife and two kids as well. They all got a chance to see some really beautiful country (the Central Sierra Nevada Mountains), ride some horses, eat some wonderful food (to their hearts content) and just have a good time.

I have to tell y'all — it worked out perfect.

Sol riders

Sons of Liberty Riders was not just a website set up by Rick, with help from Hawk and a very little bit from from us. It would become a clearing house of usable information for all who were willing to use it. And it worked. By God it worked well. People from all over the country — independents, Motorcyclist Rights Organization(s) (MRO's) and even clubs were going to the site, grabbing the information they needed and using it. It was beautiful. The best part was that folks would upload new information or papers or whatever to Rick or Hawk and they in turn would upload them to the site. That my friends is how you win. It was something to be proud of.

Now Sol riders is merely a shell of its former self. Thanks to some "impostors" who decided to hijack the name and use it in a manner Rick and Hawk did not agree with or even know about. The opening page is still there, thank you Hawk, in memory to Rick — which is as it should be.


Rick was always available to help out a brother, a group or even a club. He did so on many occasions over the years. Whether it was a helmet ticket, getting a information package together pertaining to some piece of legislation or just getting some blasted computer network up and running — properly. He was there. To be sure Rick could:

"Turn a pocket watch into a whistle and have it sing you the time" (quoting from Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire movie).

Yes indeed, he was that clever. Regrettably he was not clever enough to prevail over pancreatic cancer (he was only 56). But who is?

But most importantly he was a good husband and father. It is tough raising kids yet he and Karen (his wife) did it right. You could tell just by the way the kids spoke and acted. Yup, they done good.

Rick, a lot of people are going to miss you, myself and Nina included. We also know that wherever you may be in this wondrous universe, it is a better place now that you are there. Thank you Rick for giving unto us your time, you intellect and your presence. But most of all, thank you for being you — an honorable man. Our world does seem emptier without you. Quoting Teddy Roosevelt:

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

Vaya Con Dios Rick.

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