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Thread: RIP Wes Cooley....my story meeting Wes.

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default RIP Wes Cooley....my story meeting Wes.

    I found out today like most people...I have not talked to him in a while. I called him on his birthday back in August and left him a message on his machine.
    I'm pretty sad today...having my racing hero stay at my house is something I will never forget.
    I tapped a lot of our phone conversations (with his permission, of course) and will try to listen to them again over the weekend.

    Of course a lot of you know the story but for you new guys I would love to tell it again...this was for a magazine a few years ago....And a video of him and I being interviewed for a local TV show.

    So here is my Wes Cooley story.... 😊



    I picked them up at the airport...I couldn't believe this was happening. Wes Cooley....a racer I idolized as a young man was going to be staying at my home. All I kept thinking about was how I hoped he wouldn't get to freaked out seeing all the pictures of him in his racing days plastered all over my garage walls.
    He could not have been a more humble man. He was so appreciative of all that I was doing for him.
    My poor wife..lol...we were in bed that night and all I could talk about was that Wes freaking Cooley was sleeping in the room next to us!!!
    Friday I took Wes and Melody on a sight seeing tour of Victoria and then Friday afternoon we did an interview for a local cable company motorcycle show...that was fun! At the 9 min mark https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CplMbBmLiXo&t=888s
    Friday night I held a private party for close friends to meet Wes....that was amazing! I had a lot of videos of him racing and we played them on my big flat screen in the garage while Wes gave play by play.....crazy!
    We watched this awesome Suzuki promo video....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hj27DglJUEM
    Wes signed my gas tank and gave autographs to all my friends....I even had shirts made up to sell to raise money for him.
    Saturday at the show was amazing...he took time to talk to each person that lined up to meet him...he was so generous. particularly with children.
    I organised a dinner that night as well. Then Sunday back to my place....On Monday before they were to leave, it was the eclipse...I watched it with Wes Cooley! 😊
    Wes and I connected that weekend as we both have had addiction issues...I have recovery houses here that I opened up for men coming out of treatment.
    I'm sorry for the long winded story, there so much more.
    I still can't believe this happened. All because a friend crashed my motorcycle. 😊

    There you have it...I got pretty emotional revisiting this....

    A good man, gone way too soon.

    This was taken when we got back to my house from the airport....He loved all the old pics of him racing all over my garage walls. Wes and his long time partner Melody. They met working together as nurses in Idaho....Melody told me they were together for 6-7 years when a doctor asked Melody if "Wes was the Wes Cooley the super bike racer"? Melody said "My Wes"??? Lol....no....then she googled him and found out about his racing history....what a guy! If it was me, and trying to meet a girl I would have it pinned on my chest! Lol
    Wes told me all the doctors that rode in the hospital all wanted to sit with him at lunch from then on...lol.. he became a mini celebrity at the hospital. Such a humble man.







    And here is something you will never see....at the garage party Wes went to my wife and asked if she "had any lipstick". My wife looked at him weird and said "Yeaaahhh, why"....He wanted to play a trick on me...Janice put lipstick on him...he went back in to the garage covering his mouth and said in a big voice "Trevor, I'm tired of kissing your ass....so now, I'm going to kiss your bike"!!! And he leaned over and kissed the tank of my bike...lol...everyone one cracked up! That was Wes...awesome!



    Thanks for the memories Mr. Cooley...I will never forget you and what you did for me.


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  2. #2
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    Because of forum limits ...here is the first of the story...cheers

    I grew up in Ontario Canada...as a kid of the 70s I got my first mini bike...a keystone with a 6hp Briggs & Stratton..I had several mini bikes and dirt bikes before I turned 16 and bought my first street bike...a 1982 Katana 550....I soon wanted something more powerful and bought a brand new GS750e...unfortunately I had to soon sell it for a reliable car for a new job. I said I would get another bike.....well it took 27 years before I rode again. lol
    At age 45 I wanted a bike again. So of course I looked for a bike from my youth and bought a 1980 GS750e. I put 20,000kms on it in the first year. fast forward 5 years and 11 bikes later (I have 4 in the garage now)...to 2016 April...I had now a 1983 GS1100E....loved this bike....my dad even painted for me...it was special.
    A friend came to stay with me and we went riding...he rode my 83 1100 and I was on my 81 1100e...
    He crashed it...totaled. he did the right thing and paid me for it...but I was out an awesome bike.
    So I decided I needed to clear my head and headed to Vegas on my 2012 K1300R to do just that....well I mentioned the story on a BMW forum I'm on and a member said "hey I know how much you love your Suzukis, I have a 1980 GS1000S, I think it's a Wes Cooley sitting in my Garage, are you interested"?....he sent me pics and I bought it....I'm in Canada and the bike was 1400 miles away in Colorado...he had bought the bike from his brother in laws estate. He died of a brain aneurysm and he planned to fix it up as a tribute... but you know how that goes...it sat in his garage for ten years untouched.
    There is a story to just getting the bike to my home...but on to Wes...
    I got to work bringing the GS back to life...It had great bones with only 18,000 miles on it...I replaced every bearing, every seal, and every gasket....and spent countless hours in my garage cleaning every single part on the bike.
    So while I'm "rejuvenating" this bike I'm searching for anything GS1000s related...history etc. And I joined the facebook group Suzuki GS1000S....and one day they announce that Wes Cooley himself has joined.
    So of course I sent him a friend request and to my surprise, he excepted.
    So I'm noticing Wes has been away from all thing motorcycles for over 25 years. He' been working as an RN in Twin falls Idaho.
    He says he's looking for help to get his name out there again. He had gotten a taste for how much people loved him 6 months prior when his friend Mitch Boehm brought him to the AMA 40th anniversary races in Ohio...he couldn't "believe that people remembered him".
    I was planning on riding my GS to Monterey California to show my bike at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering in May 2017. I started talking to the organizers about having Wes there....but they already had Kenny Roberts coming.
    I emailed Freddie Spencer telling him how Wes was trying to get his name out there again...Freddie told me he would be happy "to help his old friend"..yeah..I can't believe Freddie is corresponding with this guy from Canada...lol...so Wes and I start to talk on the phone..a lot...and we really hit it off. A friend of mine puts on a big event here in BC called Vintage in the Valley, I asked my friend "if I can get Wes Cooley to come to your event, will you pay his and his partner's expenses. Of course he jumped at it!
    The show was Saturday August 16th 2017 and I had Wes and Melody fly to here to Victoria BC on the Thursday night before the show to stay at my home.
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  3. #3
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    thanks for sharing this

    what a great story, to us he's a legend but to him he was just doing what he was great at, and he didnt let that legacy affect who he was, must have been nothing but a pleasure to be around.

    better days will come, hopefully they come by as fast as he did around the corners.

    R.I.P Wes Cooley
    Ian

    1982 GS650GLZ
    1982 XV750

    Got a twin

  4. #4
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    Great story Trevor, Wes Cooley is one person that I always wanted to meet. Like you, in my teens and twenties I idolized him, he was pretty much what brought me to Suzuki, Iíve always been a Honda fan but through Wes I realized that if you want performance on the track, Suzuki is what will provide.

    Wes Cooley, may he Rest In Peace.

    BTW, has anyone ever mentioned to you that the two of you look like you could be brothers?


    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote." Benjamin Franklin, 1759


  5. #5
    rphillips is offline Forum Sage Past Site Supporter
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    Thanks for sharing a great story. Cherish the memories...& are you sure you weren't kinfolk? you sure do resemble each other.
    1983 GS1100E, 1983 CB1100F, 1991 GSX1100G, 1996 Kaw. ZL600 Eliminator, 1999 Bandit 1200S, 2005 Bandit 1200S, 2000 Kaw. ZRX 1100

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by wacky941 View Post
    Great story Trevor, Wes Cooley is one person that I always wanted to meet. Like you, in my teens and twenties I idolized him, he was pretty much what brought me to Suzuki, Iíve always been a Honda fan but through Wes I realized that if you want performance on the track, Suzuki is what will provide.

    Wes Cooley, may he Rest In Peace.

    BTW, has anyone ever mentioned to you that the two of you look like you could be brothers?
    Quote Originally Posted by rphillips View Post
    Thanks for sharing a great story. Cherish the memories...& are you sure you weren't kinfolk? you sure do resemble each other.
    Lol...I get that all the time when people see pictures of us together. I like hearing that. Thanks.
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  7. #7
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    A shame to die so young. He looks very happy in these pics so kudos for giving him the nice experience.
    1983 GS 550 LD
    2009 BMW K1300s

  8. #8
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    Wes was a great racer and a great human being. He will be missed.

    Mad
    83 GS750E
    2006 ZX14
    2004 KTM 450 EXC
    2001 Yamaha Big Bear

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cipher View Post
    A shame to die so young. He looks very happy in these pics so kudos for giving him the nice experience.
    Thanks...honestly the two of us got a long like a house on fire. He was so easy to be around and we never stopped smiling and laughing. He was like a big kid....like me...
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  10. #10
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    What a terrific story, Thanks for sharing. It seems like my auto racing heroes from my earlier years all seem to be down to earth, "normal" people as well.
    1986 1150EF
    2008 GS1250SEA

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