September 12, 2009

Lone Wolf Riders share memories of Ken Vetrovec

Jan Vetrovec holds plaque honoring Ken, a k a 'Walking Eagle'

There were stories about Ken Vetrovec Saturday morning, but no tears, as half a dozen of his fellow Indian motorcycle-riding buddies came together, with his wife, Jan, to hang a memorial plaque in his honor at the Redline Tavern, one of his favorite haunts.

The former County Board chairman was killed in July when his motorcycle ran off the road near Ely, Nevada, on the homestretch of a Route 66 trip. But there was no dwelling on the tragedy Saturday, just fond memories and the trading of stories involving Ken.

Jan recalled how Ken got his motorcycle. "He had wanted one for most of his life, but until he inherited some money he couldn't afford it. I came home from teaching school one day and there was this motorcycle in the garage. I had no idea. 'Is somebody missing it?' " she asked Ken. " 'No, it's mine,' he told me," she said.

He'd bought it off eBay, and went to Fond du Lac with a friend to pick it up. That was in 2002, and the cycle was a 2-year-old red Indian Chief. It became his pride and joy; he even bought a sidecar to take his son, Paul, who has Down's Syndrome, on rides around town. When Paul, who is now 25, outgrew riding in the sidecar, Ken sold it to another family with a disabled child. "It's gone to another good home," Jan said. Jan and Ken have two other sons, Dave and Brian, and one granddaughter, now five months old.

The friends who got together at the Redline Saturday, all members of the Lone Wolf Riders, read "a tribute of remembrance, for the good times that brought us together. Ride on, Brother, Ride on." They decided to put the memorial plaque at the Redline because "we didn't want to put it in the desert, where it would just come up missing."

Ken's clothes have been donated to HALO, but Jan brought two dozen of his motorcycle t-shirts (all neatly washed and folded) for his friends to hand out at future gatherings.

Jan and the Lone Wolf Riders
examine Ken's souvenir t-shirts

The plaque has the outline of an Indian cycle, and Ken's name, as well as his Lone Wolf Riders nickname, Walking Eagle. The friends who met with Jan today -- BlueLou, Misbear, Little Bear, Fast Chief and Red -- said they were representatives of other club members, all across the country. "A lot of them are here in their hearts," they said.

Earlier story HERE.


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