Riko Vodan, Slovenian blood with Kenda Europe, on his friend Kelly McGarry.
Last week we have lost two biking giants. A couple of days ago Saša Merljak remembered his friend Dave Mirra and we asked Riko Vodan, Maribor born sales and marketing director at Kenda Europe, for a couple of words on Kelly McGarry.
In July 2014 I’ve organized a video shoot with some of Kenda’s global sponsored riders – together with Eric Porter, Carson Storch, Tibor Simai and Guido Tschugg was Kelly invited to “play” an important role in our Kenda video we wanted to shoot in Slovenia and Austria. This was actually the first time I met Kelly.
We had a great time with this funny guy – while riding or afterwards during dinner.
Kelly was an outstanding rider – and one of the greatest ambassadors of mountain biking. Something what we all are aware of.
But for me Kelly the human, the person, was more important.
Kelly stayed in our house for a couple days and despite the fact we knew each other only for few minutes he gave us (my kids and wife) the impression from the beginning that he was our big brother, best uncle or even best buddy we didn’t see for a while. No reservations, no distance – he became another member of the Vodan family.
He played soccer with our kids, rode bikes with them and showed them how to do a manual or jump over a little ramp… My kids had a great and unforgettable time with him.
They were actually the ones who cried the first and the most after they heart about his death.
I had the great opportunity to meet one of the best people I’ve met in my entire life.
I’ll remember Kelly a as a person who was always positive and upbeat and very respectful to everyone.
When and whereever we met each other afterwards (Seaotter Festival or Interbike) he was the guy who came to hug me first and ask about my family… something which is not normal and that I didn’t expect generally from someone who is traveling so much and get to know as many people as he did.
He was so inspiring – I’ve learned a lot from him! THANKS Kelly, we all will miss you!
In memoriam: Saša remembers Dave
In top photo Riko (left), Tibor (right) and Kelly (behind) on Kanin in, Slovenia 2014. Below the extended Vodan family and friends with Kelly. Both photos from Riko Vodan personal archive.