In Tribute to the Original Gerbil- My Dale Story

Our friend Dale ended his journey on earth last night.  He was known as O.G. to people who knew him, to the people that rode with him.

He was literally the Original Gerbil.  Our little fun riding group, the Gerbils, was born in his heart and mind about six years ago now.


I will never forget him walking around the OakTree with his little tiny notebook, creating the “Gerbil Code”, scrawled by hand in a 3 x 4 wire bound scratch pad, the same kind we all wrote down our homework assignments in during grade school.

This story about Dale is a personal one.

Sturgis 2013.  My Rooster and I were at the Knuckle Saloon with Mark, Patty Meercat, Dale and my Rooster’s Dad Gary (Chickenhawk).  We had spent much of the afternoon there watching the fights.

It used to be that the Knuckle would host amateur fighting during the Sturgis Rally.  If you wanted to fight you just had to sign up, then the “hosts” would match you with someone of a similar weight (and gender) and give you a time to show up and all out brawl in a real boxing ring.

During each fight, depending on how good it was, people would throw wadded up money (bills only), into the ring and the winner would take all.  It was super fun to watch.  I imagine that they had to stop it because of liability.

We had been drinking cocktails much of the day, and Meercat and I were up on the steps, leaning over the railing chatting and watching the melee.  There was a drunk guy passed out on the steps below us, who security was trying to move along.

As I headed down the steps, backwards no less, still laughing and talking with Meercat, the drunk guy shifted, and I tripped over his legs.  I was flying backwards, right toward Dale.

On the right of Dale was an old icebox, complete with rusty sharp corners all over the place, repurposed into a garbage can house.  That box would’ve impaled me right in the spine if it weren’t for Dale.

Good thing he put that money in that nice lady’s underwear before the incident.

He dropped his beer and caught me by the cheeks……

The butt cheeks, one in each hand and gently pushed me back up to standing.

As I thanked him profusely, I also asked if he was ok.  He had a notoriously bad back.  The kind of bad back that shouldn’t be trying to catch the likes of me.

His only response was “Sweetheart, I will always protect your ass!”.  Followed immediately by his huge grin.

A couple of years later he saved me from a vicious peanut machine attack on my rear end.  Lol, that time I think may have actually been a gratuitous grab.  🙂

He never missed a chance to tell me that he would always protect my ass, sometimes so often that it could be irritating.

Don’t get me wrong, Dale was no dirty old man, well not one to be feared anyway.  I will miss him and so will many others.

I wonder who will have their eyes peeled for my butt now that Dale is gone.

I will miss that he always showed up to our house with an 18 pack of Rainier cans.

I will miss our impromptu talks in the parking lot at the Tree.  I will miss his smile and his wit and how sometimes he would be so cranky.  I will miss that he always brought up the rear of the group when we went on rides.

We never really rode next to him because we are always at the front of the pack.

I will miss how the backseat fly girls would fight over who got to ride with Dale on any given day.

I will miss his fishing stories.

I will miss that 95% of the time that I have ever walked into the OakTree Dale was the first to greet me, from his corner spot at the bar.

I will miss that he never wanted his picture taken, and it amuses me to no end that today I have seen hundreds of pictures of Dale.

Rest in Peace my friend, there is no one like you.

7 Replies to “In Tribute to the Original Gerbil- My Dale Story”

  1. I will miss him always trying to get me to sleep with him and me saying I don’t do gerbils…lol… I remember being on the back of his bike on the way to Sturgis and the throttle cable broke and we were left behind and then riding in the motor home… he was always there to give a hug and let you lean your head on his shoulder when I was so tired… no matter what was going on or if you have not been around for a while .. you know Dale was always so happy to see you… I will miss him a lot… more then words can say

  2. My Dear Friend, I am so sorry for Your loss. He will always have your Ass…Everytime You feel someone grabbing a hand full, remember thats him letting You know He still has Your (Back) Ass. Much Love and Lots of Hugs to You, Rooster, and the Gerbils.

  3. Crying 😭 …it’s good for the soul right?….healing.💔…thank you for an awesome tribute… he’s always riding along 🕊

  4. I’m so sorry to hear this about the old man as I called him or pops we worked together side by side for 3 years doing bridges we always had fun together will be mist

  5. I remember him catching your butt in Sturgis! I remember that Joy taught me the art to getting beads the first night! The second night she told me how to get the better beads.. Dale always tried giving me beads all the time at Sturgis and after that! (I told him there were certain things a friend shouldn’t see!) He would always give me that big smile and tell me he had lots of beads for me! Lol. I also remember he would help me with the Gerbilettes rule book when the Gerbils first started! What fun times we all had! I will miss him extremely! He was a good kind man! R..I.P. Dale

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