This is a hard one for me to write. As many of you now know, Rickey Bates passed away Tuesday night traveling from Las Vegas to Phoenix after attending Interbike. To dismiss any rumors, there was no foul play involved and it was only a case of wrong place, wrong time. Rickey was with his good friend Gary Dimartine, who also passed.
I only knew Rickey for a year but in that year, I was lucky enough to have rode, filmed, traveled, and partied with him. Always down to shred, Rickey was a true original and it’s a safe bet that nobody rode or will ever ride like him. Whether it was spending time on roofs, or bonking his pegs on everything imaginable, Rickey was just doing it to have fun. With that said, I don’t think Rickey would want anyone to be bummed about this. Instead, we should all call our friends, tell them we love them, and go shred. Jump off a roof, do a tabletop, do anything, just do it for Rick.
To give you a better idea of who Rickey was, here are a few words from one of his best friends:
“Today I received a phone call that nobody wants to get. A car accident in the middle of the night took two amazing people from us all. I met Rickey when i was 15? years old. I don’t quite know. It doesn’t matter really. What I know is that when I met him I was extremely jealous of how happy and confident he was on his bike.
Rickey was without a doubt one of the most talented and well rounded bmx riders I have ever seen. Rick could literally ride anything put in front of him, and do it with a smile on his face. I have known Rickey since before we really knew ourselves. I grew up with him, we became men together and we all learned life lessons together. A lot of people don’t know that Rickey and Aaron were the first two to stick shovels in the ground of the yard known as “the Casselberry Trails”, he is as O.G. as Casselberry can get. I speak for me and only me but I will never be able to forget the times Rickey spent with us here in Casselberry and all over the country through his travels.
Rickey was always the one hounding everyone to go ride or find something new to ride. Rickey said one day that he wanted to make a video. I can honestly say I, personally, did not have much faith. We just posted his first video a few months back titled “Mesh Locals”. After we posted it I asked Rickey how many copies were made. He said “uuuuh, one.” Funny that his first video only had one copy. Since then Rickey has proven himself documenting our local riding and antics. I can not think about Rickey without thinking of Banned. With that being said I can not think of Banned without smiling and laughing.
Rickey was really the first one around here to pick up a camera and try to capture what we were all doing. He did an amazing job with what he did. I am one of a lucky few to have Banned videos 1-4. I will have tons and tons of memories in my head that ill never be able to forget but it will feel good to be able to pull out those videos and see it all in front of me.
Gary was an interesting person. Someone who could be happy in the worst conditions as long as he had some clothes, his bike, and possibly some food. I’ve spent some serious time on the road with Gary, even done some time in Jail with him. A jail bond is a special bond you can have with someone. I will never be able to forget Gary’s laugh or the nick name Joey J. and I gave him some time back. ”Lone Pine”, it seemed to fit at the time. I will always remember Gary as Lone Pine.
Everyone in BMX outside of central Florida or Jersey will remember Rickey and Gary as “those Banned dudes” that had no concern for their body in terms of jumping off of buildings and structures for fun, which is ridiculous. But for those who knew them, we will remember them as close friends. Friends that we experienced pretty much everything with.
There are a lot of people in mourning and dealing with this situation and i am sad for myself and am sad for everyone that was close to Rickey and Gary, now is when we have to bring each other close and fix ourselves together. I am not a religious person and I don’t know what happens to someone when they die but i’d like to think Rickey and Gary are still cruising in the Banned Wagon searching for the next stop on their journey. I shed quite a few tears today. Here’s to you boys, you will be severely missed.”