Memories of Gold Rush
by Joe Sobiesiak circa 1996
RICK WHEELER was the lover of Monte. They were both Team members when I joined. Rick was one of our callers. He had a good voice and I remember him singing 'Bill Bailey', which is one of my favorite songs. Rick would come out and "party hardy" with us at the Rodeos. On one side trip to Disneyland, the Team was going to stay at Rick’s moms place. The Team was split into two vehicles with Rick as one "pilot" and Monte, the other. Well, Monte's group arrived with no problem. Hours later, Rick's car showed up. Rick had gotten lost! And, the guys never let him forget it! Rick surprised us another time by showing up at the last Rodeo rehearsal on crutches! Rick was a very happy guy. He was always smiling and laughing. After Rick passed on, Monte moved back to Ohio for a few months to settle his head. At Christmas time, I received a package from Monte. I opened it and inside was a card and present from the both of them. Rick had picked out my present before getting ill, and Monte sent it to me. Rick was a very generous and thoughtful man.
by Monte Roush circa 1996
I'll start with the obvious, my lover, RICK WHEELER. Rick and I met in West Hollywood on June 10th, 1983. At the time, we were both members of the LA Gay Freedom Band. We took up Square Dancing in September '85 and moved to San Francisco on Thanksgiving weekend, 1987. Upon arriving in “The City" we became members of the Foggy City Dancers. In July, 1988, we were both asked to join Gold Rush; and I was asked to join the Foggy City Performance Team. [It turned out that FCD was planning to ask Rick later on, but at the time, rejected him because they thought he was a different Rick]. For the first couple of years, Rick was very active with Gold Rush. He enjoyed both the dancing - and being able to do singing calls for the group. He especially like singing duets with Bill Whitefield. As he became weaker from AIDS, he tried to withdraw himself from the group, but many members wouldn't let that happen. They tried to keep him involved in various ways and I am eternally grateful for that. During the final stages of his illness, Rick was visited by every Team Member while in the hospital. He even received phone calls from our friends in Sacramento, Chris and Corky. Rick passed away on July 16, 1992; one day after his 36th birthday. Good night Augie-Doggie. Doggie Daddy misses you!