Two sisters from Williams Lake keep their dad’s memory alive every summer at the annual vintage motorcycle rally at the historic O’Keefe Ranch in Vernon B.C. Savannah Nadeau and Danielle Schultz have been attending the races as long as they can remember, and this year celebrated the event’s 27th birthday with friends, family, and riders from across the province.
An event planner in the Okanagan, Savannah has taken over organizing the race. She said that she loves the event world and that this event in particular gives her a great deal of drive and passion.
“It’s a lot of work, like putting on any type of event, but the end result is always so rewarding,” she explained. “It’s important that this event keeps going because for me and my family, it keeps my dad’s memories alive.
“It’s a weekend many racers look forward to every year and I want to be able to deliver that to them. It’s also important because it’s been a part of my life for so long it’s become tradition for me.”
She said her dad, Dan Schultz, raced at O’Keefe from the very beginning.
“He was one of the main racers who showed up every year and won many trophies. He did the flaming wall stunt as well as another one, where his friend Rob Prisk laid on his back with a board over him creating a jump, and my dad rode over him, getting air,” she added.
“The motorcycle rally was an exciting annual event, and a great get-together for family and friends.”
Both sisters raced successfully at the event, and Nadeau’s younger sister, Danielle Schultz, also does the flaming wall stunt in memory of her dad. This year she opted to ride through the wall with no actual flames, in honour of B.C.’s firefighters battling forest blazes throughout the province.
“I do the fire wall because it helps bring people to the event, and as a memorial for my dad. It’s not just a crazy stunt to me: it’s something that I share with my dad,” she said.
“When I go through the wall, my thoughts aren’t on the wall itself. I concentrate on my dad and I know he will keep me safe so I don’t need to worry. He may be gone, but when it comes to the stunt he is right there beside me.”
Nadeau said her dad was the one who taught her how to ride dirt bikes and also how to flat track race.
“My favorite memory was my first year of racing and learning how to ride on the track. It was the one year that this event actually didn’t happen at O’Keefe Ranch but at the Vernon race track, off to the side on a roughly built track,” she continued. “I was the only girl racing and I was so nervous, but I had my dad there cheering me on right at the sidelines which gave me the confidence to keep going.”
She stated her main goal is to make the races at O’Keefe more successful every year by building it bigger, having more races, more Show n’ Shine bikes and more guests to come and see what vintage flat track racing is all about.
“Other things I would like to see at this event is a youth race, intermission acts and a swap meet. All these things will come in time as I begin to build a team behind me to help produce this event,” she said.
“Through all this, though, I want to keep that vibe of a family get-together weekend.”
“I think my dad would be very proud,” Schultz said.
“He always said he wanted to keep the event going, and I believe my sister and I can do that. She did an amazing job this year, and I know my dad was up there patting her on the back.”