Member of the month...he's actually way more than that to me. I met Mike at Mr. Padden's event in Theodosia, MO several years ago. It didn't take me long to figure out he carries some of the same degenerate genes I have. I attend the STOC events for one big reason...to have fun. If you are in Mike's company and not having fun you may want to seek a different prescription. Another one of the "good" guys. Mike (we call him Bug) is a complex figure. I could tease him all day, aligning him with some stereotype from living in Arkansas to many other assorted things. You are not going to get to know the full Bug in one sitting. Multifaceted, smart, clever, grounded, great moral compass and huge affinity for fun.
If you have never met Bug imagine how much entertainment can be provided by an entomologist. "Doctor of entomology" on his diploma. King of the zoo from my perspective and just as admirable. The more you get to know Mike the more you want to know about Mike. My relationship with Mike is not founded on riding because I have never ridden with him. It is founded on the social aspect stemming from this forum. I don't know much about his riding, although I hear he rides much like Artie Johnson, but I can tell you he is a good friend.
I met Mike's family early this year. Two young boys and a pretty wife. You can't help but wonder how his wife puts up with him. I could see she is a patient woman. You also have to wonder what kind of influence he'll have on his sons. Riding may be therapeutic for Mike but I'm betting he gets much better therapy when he's with his family albeit a different kind. No doubt his family is what helped to shape him and bring out the traits I mentioned above.
I know this award will go to his head. He'll get all cocky and drop little subtleties about his achievement next time we're together. Of course I know the greater good is not in the award but in the friend I have found. Congratulations Bug!