We will be remembering Ray Fagan during the awards ceremony at noon on Monday. Ray was the original founder of the Stagecoach Ride to Eat and Annual Last Ride of the Year.
Sadly, Ray passed away on December 18th. He was at the event last year, even though his health was not good and his hearing was gone.
Many of you may remember him as "Tugboat Ray" from when he posted a video a few years ago of a tugboat getting sucked under a bridge. It went viral before going viral was a phrase and unknown to him, Ray's web host charged a fee for going over a fixed amount of hits. He was hit with a huge bill that he could not afford. So his friends from all over the country chipped in to help him out of the jam. The name "Tugboat Ray" sorta stuck after that.
Some video from last year showing Ray and ironically featuring another friend of mine that passed away earlier this year, John Ryan:
The story of how Ray started the Stagecoach RTE:
P.S. From a post I wrote to the Long Distance Rider list:
...... Ray was like a big kid. He never lost his fascination with traveling and seeing new things. Even when he lost his hearing and his health deteriorated, he maintained his love of farkling and riding motorcycles and meeting people.
Ray was really happy when he attended the Annual Last Ride of the Year last year and was able to see so many riders getting together to have a great time at the event that he started so many years ago with nothing more than an idea and a zest for sharing his spirit with fellow riders. He had his son trailer the scooter sidecar rig that Ray was building to the event. He was not daunted even though the seat blew off somewhere along the way. He built it so that he could ride his grandkids around the yard. Ray just loved to ride and share that with others. We sat in the Stagecoach Cafe after most of the riders had left for their homes all across this great country and ate a late lunch and talked. Well, Ray talked and I went through a couple of pencils and pads of paper as we conversed and reminisced about riding, RTE's, and riders. It was a special time and I was hoping to have a few more chances to sit and talk/write with Ray. We could not know at the time that it was not to be.
We will be remembering and missing Ray at the 17th annual Last Ride of the Year on December 30th in Stockton Alabama. The event has continued in the format and spirit of how Ray founded it all those years ago and has continued to grow as his love of riding has spread to more and more people.
I was honored when he asked me to take over "his" event several years ago.
He could not continue to do it due to health reasons, but he really wanted the event to continue because he enjoyed bringing riders from all the different types of motorcycling together. How could I turn down doing that for him? I would love to hear your "Ray stories" if you can make it down to lower Alabama on the 30th for the Annual Last Ride of the Year at the Stagecoach Cafe in Stockton, Alabama.
My friend Ray Fagan was one of the really good guys and sadly, he has gone on.
But he will not be forgotten and he is already missed.