Carol said, “Bruce had a side about him where he just liked to go to the extreme. I guess that is where his penchant for speed came in. One year, I bought him a special Christmas gift. I gave him 10 laps in a racecar at Talladega. He got to suit up and drive a real NASCAR vehicle at the Speedway. During his 10 laps, Bruce reached a top speed of 176 miles per hour.”
It should also be noted that Bruce was a huge NASCAR fan. His driver was Carl Edwards. When I asked Carol why, she said, “Bruce just thought he was a class act.” Let’s also note that Bruce was not very fond of one Kyle Busch. It may be only fitting that the week after Bruce’s passing, NASCAR parked Busch’s car for his poor behavior on the track. Coincidence?
A NASCAR vehicle was not the only ride that Bruce enjoyed going fast in. His favorite and most common place to experience speed was in his very own bass boat. Bruce was the proud owner of a Bullet Boat with a 200 horsepower Super Mag motor. He was legendary for reaching speeds of up to 80 miles per hour on the water. I know several folks who rode with Bruce that came back more than just a little shaken. His own dad Bob threatened to start wearing the kill switch so he could shut the boat down when it reached a certain speed. His longtime neighbor and friend Roger Marlowe employed an even better method of slowing Bruce down. Roger was boarding Bruce’s boat as they were about to set out on a fishing trip one morning. The first thing Roger did was carefully lay his rods and reels in the boat. Then Roger set his tackle box in the boat. Lastly, Roger got in the boat carrying a big thick tobacco stick at his side. Bruce said, “Roger, what is the tobacco stick for?’ Roger replied, “This tobacco stick is my cruise control. If you get to going to fast, I am going to whack you over the head with it.” Good thinking Roger. I never heard how it worked out.
Speaking of extremes, Bruce had always wanted to ride a real bull at a rodeo. He bought the gloves along with all the accessories needed and went to sign up. The managers of the rodeo informed him that he was too old and they wouldn’t let him on a bull. He tried and tried to get them to let him sign whatever release forms they had but they wouldn’t relent.
Bruce was also going to enter his bass boat in a race at Pisgah Bay on Kentucky Lake this past summer but his health wouldn’t permit it. Needless to say, Bruce Higbee had an affection for speed and the extreme.
Bruce got into Facebook early on. He found it was a good way to get into contact with friends he had not heard from in many years. Carol said, “Bruce just liked the interaction that Facebook provided. He loved talking to everyone.” Bruce even became know for posting what the Higbee family had for supper just about every night. Carol said, “It got to be that everywhere I went, people would make a comment about either the supper we had the night before or what we were going to have that particular night.” Next week, I will tell you about how Bruce used Facebook to witness to others.
Well, see you later. It is 8 p.m. and I have got to get home for supper. In honor of Bruce, let me say this. The Wrights will be having skillet lasagna, garlic bread and sweet ice tea tonight.
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.