Author Topic: Remembering K-Huck.  (Read 4990 times)

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Offline Tom S

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Remembering K-Huck.
« on: March 25, 2017, 02:34:28 PM »
Remembering "K-Huck"
 
If one had a passion for sport bikes, one did not have to find Keith Huckabey, he would find you!  Upon meeting Keith for the first time, you could feel his deep, limitless yearning for adventure aboard sport touring motorcycles.  There was something in his eyes and in that great smile of his that told you, you had met your wing-man for adventure.
 
It was not long after I had gotten bitten by the "sport bike bug" myself, that Keith and I met for the first time.  Our meeting could be described as the tale of the two drunken guys being escorted back to their hotel rooms by their friends down the sidewalks of New Orleans. When we each saw each other, we tore away from our guardians and ran to each other like two, long, lost buddies!

As was written on the windshield of many of his high powered motorcycles, "Piloted by K-Huc", Keith had always had the lust for fast cars, boats, and bikes ever since he was a young boy.  Born in 1953 in Fort Chaffee, AR and raised by his father, Pleas Kuckabey, his mother, Glenda Huckabey, and his sisters Jan and Lori, Keith eventually moved to Memphis for girl, school, and job opportunities.  Successful in all three, he married his beautiful wife Kay, and raised two wonderful young men, Kyle and Logan.  With his unmatchable communication skills he became Memphis’s top commercial furniture salesmen and placed in charge of the Fed-Ex account.  Mission accomplished, it was now time to pursue his long, burning lust for speed. 

Keith lived in the hay day of development of the modern motorcycle.  He, like most of us of this era, watched motorcycles evolve from, average powered, heavy motorcycles that you had to nurse through the turns, into super powered, lightweight rockets that stick to the road like glue.  It's been said the motorcycles that you can walk in and buy at the motorcycle showroom floors today, could win world super-bike races just a few years ago.  Taking advantage of this wonderful time in technical development, Keith took full advantage of it by owning the best of the best whenever possible.
 
Keith was not just a buyer of fast motorcycles, Keith was a rider of fast motorcycles! His finely tuned racing skills through the years allowed him to pursue the limits of motorcycles.  Keith was one of the smoothest riders that I have ever seen on a motorcycle.  Many of us had so much faith in his smooth riding style that we would regularly ride within inches of him.  In fact, new riders would regularly comment that we looked like we were tied together going through the curves. 
 
Keith's love for people and his communication skills got him elected president of the Mid South Sport Riders for four terms.  We watched the club grow from under 50 members to well over 100 during his leadership.  It was not uncommon for him to sign up a new member every time we rode somewhere.  He later became a Motorcycle Safety Foundation instructor and the West TN Director for the Honda Sport Touring Association.
 
K-Huc and I logged over 100,000 miles of smiles in our twelve-year friendship between 1990 and 2002.  If fact, we had ridden just about every place in this good old USA, as long as it had curvy roads and awesome scenery.  We were one month away from taking a trip to Europe to ride motorcycles in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy when I got the dreaded call from Todd Huber, "Have you heard the news about Keith?" 
 
Normally I would have been there with him on this ride, but for some reason I did not go on the ride in the Smoky Mountains that took Keith's life that awful day.  To this day, we have counted over twelve things that converged in that 10 MPH corner where Keith lost the front end and went under an oncoming car that day.  When twelve things work against you in one corner, it does not matter how good of a rider you are.
 
A couple of years ago I had a dream about Keith.  I was in a lobby of a restaurant waiting for my table.  All of a sudden Keith walks in.  No, it wasn't someone who looked like Keith, as I have seen many times since his death, it “was” Keith.  Naturally I go up to him and asked him if it is really him.  He said, “Yes, it's me”.  I said, “Where have you been for so long?”  He said, “I've been watching and listening everyone from a distance, kind of like e-mail.”
We talked for quite a while, then hugged and held each other.  As dreams usually go, unfortunately, I can't remember all that was said.  It doesn't matter though.  What I will always remember is the contact by him and the reinforcement that I am sure, now more than ever, that I will see him again some day.
 
Keith and I discussed many times about the dangers of riding motorcycles at the level that we rode them.  But, we both agreed, after experiencing everything we had over the last awesome decade, should either one of us be forced to make the ultimate sacrifice one day, we would not regret it.  I'm sure that sounds strange to the non, motorcycle public, but unless one has been lucky enough to become a motorcyclist, one may never understand.

This July 20th marks the 15th anniversary of our beloved friend’s death.  There is not a year that goes by that Keith’s name is not mentioned fondly by his many friends of the motorcycle community, even by some people only meeting him once.  His countless MSSR, MMC, and MSTA friends also continue to keep his memory alive.  His contributions to everyone he came in contact with made this world a better place. 
 
God speed, Keith Huckabey!  Ride Um High old buddy!

« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 06:11:20 PM by Tom S »
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Offline HawkGTRider

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Re: Remembering K Huck.
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2017, 02:40:56 PM »
I don't recall ever having ridden with Keith (I do remember hearing much of what Tom has recounted above regarding his riding skills), but our paths crossed several times at HSTA events. What I remember of him was that he seemed like a heck of a nice guy. I don't think I ever ride NC28 without thinking of him.

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Offline Tom S

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Re: Remembering K Huck.
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2017, 03:00:23 PM »
I thought you were on the trip with us when we got caught in snow storm?
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Offline HawkGTRider

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Re: Remembering K-Huck.
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2017, 05:43:53 PM »
I thought you were on the trip with us when we got caught in snow storm?
It's possible...I do remember riding in snow a few times over the last 724,000 miles, but details are sometimes fuzzy. Give me a few minutes (or hours or maybe days) and maybe more of the neurons will start connecting. :-)
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Offline vfroger

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Re: Remembering K-Huck.
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2017, 08:48:34 PM »
I don't recall ever having ridden with Keith (I do remember hearing much of what Tom has recounted above regarding his riding skills), but our paths crossed several times at HSTA events. What I remember of him was that he seemed like a heck of a nice guy. I don't think I ever ride NC28 without thinking of him.



We spent a day riding with him, a few MSSR riders, and the Kingsport contingent in 1999. They stayed at my house and we came to your house on Caldwell to get you. It was a 500 mile day with a variety of temperatures and some snow on roadsides in March. We rode up to the "new" training site in Morristown with snow and also across Roan Mtn with snow on the ground. So there, your memory fails you.

I was thinking about it being 15 years this summer. Tom eloquently described Keith and their friendship. I can only say that I enjoyed Keith's company and friendship for a few years. It was a sad day when we lost him.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 10:36:41 AM by vfroger »
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Offline HawkGTRider

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Re: Remembering K-Huck.
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2017, 11:28:25 PM »
I don't recall ever having ridden with Keith (I do remember hearing much of what Tom has recounted above regarding his riding skills), but our paths crossed several times at HSTA events. What I remember of him was that he seemed like a heck of a nice guy. I don't think I ever ride NC28 without thinking of him.



We spent a day riding with him, a few MSSR riders, and the Kingsport contingent in 1999. They stayed at my house and we came to your house on Caldwell to get you. It was a 500 mile day with a variety of temperatures and some snow on roadsides in March. We rode up to the "new" training site in Morristown with snow and also across Roan Mtn with snow on the ground. So there, your memory fails you.

I was thinking about it being 15 years this summer. Tom eloquently described Keith and their friendship. I can only say that I enjoyed Keith's company and friendship for a few years. It was a sad day when we lost him.

Ah...that's the reminder that I needed. It's coming back to me now with the additional details.
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Offline fz1grl

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Re: Remembering K-Huck.
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2017, 10:29:11 AM »
Remembering "K-Huck"

Normally I would have been there with him on this ride, but for some reason I did not go on the ride in the Smoky Mountains that took Keith's life that awful day. 


You were recovering from either a broken collar bone or a broken leg that year and had missed the HSTA STAR in Hot Springs, AR also.
That was the year that there were demo rides and Keith was helping with them.  Heard that the MSSR had a very spirited demo going :)



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Offline Paco Bulto

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Re: Remembering K-Huck.
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2017, 03:22:37 PM »
This pic is from STAR 2002 in Hot Springs, when Keith was given the Rookie State Director of the Year award. Less than a month later I was on my way home from Mid Ohio when I got that call. Bless you, my friend.

Thanks, Tom for such a touching writeup.

Offline HawkGTRider

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Re: Remembering K-Huck.
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2017, 09:16:24 PM »
Roger White and I went out meandering today along with another friend from the local vintage motorcycle club. While out and about, Roger reminded me of the ride we took where we encountered the snow, and I now remember it. As I noted above, it just takes a while for the neurons to connect. :-)
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Offline Tom S

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Re: Remembering K-Huck.
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2017, 08:13:08 PM »
I figured you'd come around eventually.  Like me, you just had to be jump started!
 
I just tell everyone, "I don't remember. It's been too many beers ago".
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Offline ericlarsen

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Re: Remembering K-Huck.
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2017, 10:40:44 AM »
I recall fondly riding with Keith, Tom and company on the way to Star in Marietta 1999.  We all happened to land at the same hotel on the way into town and as motorcyclist do, we struck up conversation and found we had the same destination. It was fairly early in my MSTA (then HSTA) membership and you guys made me feel welcome and included on that day's ride. Keith was quite an engaging character and I was glad to have had the opportunity to have met him.  One of the stand out days in the last nearly 2 decades of riding with the club. 
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Offline Tom S

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Re: Remembering K-Huck.
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2017, 03:41:39 PM »
Weren't you riding a BMWGS then?
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Offline HawkGTRider

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Re: Remembering K-Huck.
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2017, 12:19:42 AM »
Weren't you riding a BMWGS then?
If you're referencing my ride of the day, I was aboard an R80ST...a slightly streetified G/S. It boasted different instruments, a narrower handlebar,  and a 19" front wheel vs the G/S 21 incher. Cosmetically it had a chromed exhaust versus the G/S painted pipe. It doesn't sound like much, but it was one fine handling bike.

I might be confusing days again, but I seem to recall one of you guys riding a just released Yamaha R1. Maybe that was Huck...I don't remember. Whoever it was swapped rides with Roger White for a few miles. He was pretty blown away with it...especially the brakes.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2017, 12:23:48 AM by HawkGTRider »
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