Reece Good didn’t get to attend a handful of events held in his honor in 2006, but he’d like to thank the people who did.
He’ll do so next weekend with Riding with Reece, a 100-mile ride and poker run set to start and conclude in Gardner.
“It’s just hard to thank everybody,” Good said. “You just can’t do it.”
While hundreds of people rallied to raise funds for his medical bills and to keep his Ultra Craft Customs shop in business, Reece was in a medically induced coma recovering from a bullet to the brain.
Things were going well for the quiet custom motorcycle builder in 2006. Reece’s Ultra Craft Custom choppers had been featured in several magazines and his creations were to be featured on a television show. So it was a mix of business and pleasure that took the Gardner Edgerton High School alum to Sturgis, South Dakota, for the annual motorcycle rally that year.
After spending six days in Sturgis, Reece and two friends were on their way home when they stopped at a convenience store within 30 miles of Reece’s Gardner home. The threesome pulled out of the store located on Kansas Avenue in Kansas City, Kan. and were merging onto Interstate 635 when a dark-colored sedan pulled up beside the truck pulling Reece’s trailer.
Reece was asleep in the passenger seat. The men in the sedan fired five shots – two struck Reece, one in the hand and one in the head.
Reece’s driver took him directly to the University of Kansas Medical Center where Reece was placed in critical condition, put into a medically-induced coma and placed on a breathing machine.
“It was a very unfortunate thing to have something happen to someone that didn’t deserve it,” said Robert Cook, Gardner.
Cook, who owns a mechanic shop in town, helped organize a massive fundraiser within days of Reece’s injuries. Organizers estimate that between 2,500 and 3,000 people attended an auction and luncheon at Cook’s home in August of 2006. They raised more than $57,000 in one day.
Cook also helped Reece get his start in building custom motorcycles.
“A long time ago, when he started working and welding and fabricating, it was something that just came naturally to him,” Cook said.
Reece was building motorcycle parts in his parents’ garage one day, when Cook stopped by to see him.
“The house was full of smoke. I looked at Reece’s mom and said, what are you cooking? And she said Reece was in the garage welding.”
Cook asked Reece if he was trying to kill his entire family. Cook has a chicken coop complete with a concrete floor on his property in Gardner.
“I had that whole building and I really wasn’t doing anything with it,” Cook explained. “I said to him, ‘why don’t you move your stuff out there where you’re not going to kill your family?’”
“It was an opportunity for him to start doing what he liked to do. He had a talent that I wished I had,” Cook said.
Ultra Craft Customs is now housed in a shop in Wellsville, but Reece was running his operations from the chicken coop on Cook’s property when he was shot in 2006.
After more than two months in the hospital and more than six months of therapy, Reece is close to 100 percent again. Kansas City, Kan. police have yet to arrest the shooters.
“He was pretty reluctant to talk about (the shooting) for a long, long time,” Cook said. “He understands what happened. It was just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Next weekend’s poker run is just for fun, but if all goes well, Reece would like to make it an annual event in which some of the proceeds are donated to traumatic head injury charities or research.
Registration for the Riding with Reece Poker Run will start between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Tumbleweed in Gardner on Oct. 8. Cook expects there will be several hot rods and motorcycles participating in the event, but all are welcome. Riders will collect their first card of their poker hand at the Tumbleweed before heading to Drivers in Ottawa for their second card. They’ll pick up cards at Johnny’s Tavern in Lawrence and then at Kobi’s in Bonner Springs before returning to Wally’s in Gardner for the final card.
There will be prizes for the best two hands and a little something for the worst hand as well as giveaways like gas cards and gift certificates during the event.
“This is just a big thank you and to have fun,” Good said. “Hopefully we’ll have a nice day for it.”
For more information, call Robert Cook at (913) 856-8015.