They went to Glamis that weekend primarily as vendors. They were embarking on the necessary marketing task of gaining exposure and acceptance and creating an identity within the riding community, and Glamis is certainly one of the best places to do this.
On that Friday, Holly and her fianc Eric spent the best part of the morning taking pictures of Holly riding and jumping some dunes. The few brief minutes she spent doing this did little to satisfy her need to spend some time seriously shredding up some sand. The rest of that Friday Holly spent working the DAMZL sales booth with Heather, and she begrudgingly resisted her temptations to go back out in the dunes and get some sand in her hair.
On Saturday, Holly was back in the booth again. She was dying for a ride but kept putting it off until late in the day. And then finally, before it got too late, her moment came. Holly fulfilled her dream. She mounted her bike dressed in pink and led a pack of five riders out into the sand. As she had dreamed, she led the way and challenged everyone following to keep up with her. I can sense what was in her heart as she threw caution to the wind just long enough to miss sight of an approaching dune buggy. In the blink of an eye she was irreparably crushed. And as she laid there in the sand dressed in her pink DAMZL shirt, Eric, the love of her life, held her hand, cradled her head, and told her just how much he loved her while she passed away from him. This happened only a week ago as I write this today.
Now many of us here would describe this whole episode as tragic, but if you really knew Holly the way I did then it would be much more appropriate to describe it as poetic. Holly died very quickly. She died doing the thing she liked to do most and in the place that she liked the most. She died in the arms of the man she loved most dearly -- the man she called the love of her life. I am very proud of the fact that her life and her end have become the inspiration for her sister to continue with the goals they set together for DAMZL. I think this reflects positively on their personal strength and character. I feel blessed to be the father of such a great family.
It is with mixed emotions that I reflect on how I feel about Glamis and other popular off-road riding areas. On the one hand, our family enjoyed countless adventures and very positive experiences there. On the other hand, it's the place where I lost my daughter. Upon reflection, I have come to several conclusions. First, I believe strongly that it is up to each parent or individual rider to determine if it is appropriate or safe enough to ride in these places. Clearly, I do not believe that this decision should be made by the BLM or any other government agency. In my mind, their job is to protect our ability to make these choices, not to make them for us.
My strongest feeling is that riders and buggy drivers must learn to temper their enthusiasm in favor of more caution, especially in these very crowded areas. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is simply not to ride or drive beyond what your field of vision can let you be in control of. If you can see what lies ahead and you are confident that there are no surprises, let that be the opportunity to go for it and get your thrills. If you can't, or are not sure, resist the temptation until a safer opportunity presents itself. It will eventually come. You owe it to yourself, your coriders, and others that might be tragically affected by your impatience. As individuals we owe it to the other people around us not to jeopardize their safety because of our lack of self control. We simply don't have the right to take other people's safety for granted. None of us own Glamis or any other similar place; we share it. And if we don't share it responsibly, Big Brother will certainly take it from all of us.
May God bless and keep you and your loved ones safe.