First lets me take you back to 1993 when at the time I Corey Ivy was 12yrs old full of energy and life. But one thing was missing my dad Gary was always gone. My dad has and still is one of the hardest working men I know. He worked all week from the sun up to sun down at Evansville supply company which is now CED. He bowled a few nights a week and come Saturday I would see him for a little while in the morning and then he was gone till he woke me up for Church. Eventually my curiosity got the best f me and I finally asked my dad where are you going every weekend. His response was one I'll never forget, I'm helping a old friend Rick Blessing who is sick DJ weddings every weekend. My immediate reaction was that is so cool can I go? Dad says yeah sure we are playing down at the 4-h this weekend you can come help set up and see what it is all about. So Saturday rolled around a typical morning at the Ivy's get up clean hang out with dad before he leaves, but today is different I get to go with him to set up. So I go help unload thousands of CDs Tapes and yes Records,. Then we put up these huge speakers and a light show that would bring back the 90's for anyone. I felt like I was working with Metallica so I asked can I come back? Rick's response was sure why not! My dad not so optimistic says well we will bring your bike back with us so if you get tired you can just ride on home.. Well I never was tired the whole night I was pumped in between each break I had the all important job of turning the speaker lights on. I was hooked I loved it at the end of the night I asked Rick again can I come next week and his response never changed sure why not!
So for the next couple of years I helped my dad and Rick every weekend they had a job. I began to learn more about Rick and what his illness really was. He had a very rare disease that killed his kidney's and eventually attacked his heart. He was taking dialysis three days a week and always in and out of the hospital. But he was always was ready come show time to the point where very few people even knew he was sick. I learned over time that Rick was not going to live forever and that eventually the disease would win. Rick would always joke to me and my dad that if he died during a show to load him in the van and deal with that after the party. Luckily we never had to do that he always made it to the end of the show, But by the end of the night a lot of times we were carrying him to the van and back in the house when we got him home.
When I first started helping my first love was the lighting, I mean what kid doesn't like flashy lights. But that turned changed quickly into a love of what I seen Rick do every weekend to play music and Entertain people with his lovable spirit and fantastic voice on a microphone! I followed His every move and listened to every word he spoke on the microphone to talking to the clients. I would follow him out on each and every group set he did and had all the moves down pat. I knew by abut 1995 that this was exactly what I wanted to do the rest of my life . I was about 14 at the time and. Rick didn't agree with that when I told him. He said Bull boy you are going to turn 16 get into cars and girls and want nothing to do with this anymore. Well I didn't care I was saving my money and buying equipment out of a magazine from LA.. Rick and I became very close I would call him long distance just to talk about once a week he was my mentor and like my second dad.
In 1997 I was now 15 I had a good amount of equipment that I had bought on my own and from Rick. It was I believe Jan 20 1997 when my dad woke me extra early before school to tell me that the night before Rick had passed away peacefully in his home. I didn't know how to react I was only 15 and never really encountered death to someone who meant so much. I remember going to the funeral and not wanting to leave the casket at the end. It was crazy for me to think I wont be able to call Rick to see what new music we had to get or what cool light we would buy before our next show. Things started getting better a few weeks later and my 16th birthday was just around the corner. Then one night my dad sat me down at the kitchen table and asked what I wanted to do with the jobs Rick had already booked for the year. I thought back to what Rick had said a few years earlier that I wouldn't want anything to do with this at 16. So I said Dad we can do it let's just buy Risks stuff and go for it. So that's exactly what we did at 16 My dad loaned me the money and we took over all Ricks work. I believe he had about 25 jobs pre booked so I called every one and explained about Ricks passing and that I would love to be there DJ but would understand if they didn't want someone so young to do that. We had one decide they wanted to go another route. So it began my dad bought me a suit and our first wedding reception was for 500 people at the Ferdinand Community Center. We were all set up sound check went great and guest arrive. Now the moment of truth Bridal party introductions. I go outside and get the 24 member's of the bridal party lined up and ready to come in. I take my place where Rick always stood on the side of the bar I take a deep breath in and start the famous words I had always heard Rick say first on the Mic! Ladies and Gentlemen if I could please have your attention. I make it through the huge wedding party and the Bride and Grooms name and make my way back to the stage. My dad is standing there smiling at me as apparently I was white as a ghost and he says good job son I can see your heart beating through your suit jacket.
Now for the last 19 years its been just me and my dad every weekend having the time of our lives. I never would of thought when I was a kid how close me and my dad would become. For many years in the beginning it was all business for us we couldn't hardly have even a Thanksgiving dinner without most our conversation being about upcoming jobs. Now its much different we still talk almost daily about either the business or more often than not just the crazy stuff that is going on in our lives. He is Retired from CED now and at 72 years old still wants me to figure out ways to get more jobs. He is even using Ricks old saying if I die at a show throw me in the truck and deal with it after its over. I can say that is something I struggle to even think about as we have such a close bond now.
So what these two great men have taught me is that the most important thing in life is family and doing exactly what you love to do. Now with a wife and three kids of my own I include them in as much as I possible especially with the business and what I love to do! From my now almost 16 year old Daughter who I have to ask what is all this new music about and what is good. to My 11yr old son who is as hard working as they come and will always jump at a opportunity to go set a show up and play with the lights. to my 10yr old son who is my Hustler that will put his Superior Entertainment shirt on grab two pockets of business cards and starting handing them out to anyone he see's.o edit.
Rick Blessing doing what he Loved doing
Gary Ivy on the Left with me Corey Ivy on the Right at the Evansville Country club