I am a board member of the Fernie Trails Alliance and passionate about mountain biking both in Fernie and beyond. When this came across our desks (or computer screens, more accurately) the same person immediately popped into all of our heads as someone worthy of this award - Johnny Shaw.
You see, Johnny literally has made mountain biking happen in our community. And not only does he make it happen, his passion is passed along through everything he does.
Johnny has spent countless hours working on trails, running weekly maintenance nights, sitting on the board of the Fernie Trails Alliance, on committees for both the Trails Alliance and Mountain Bike Club, and competing in and supporting local races. He began a monthly event for young ones in Fernie - the Little Critter Mountain Bike Races, where kids age 2 to 12 complete as many laps as possible within 45 minutes of a different course each month. This event alone speaks to his love of the sport and our community. The event has grown to include up to 60 wee riders, growing their own passion and skills with each month.
Last year, once the Trans Canada Trail was nearly complete, he took his then 10-year-old son Wes to Banff where they began the ride all the way home to Fernie… in five days. Completely self-supported. As someone who can ride it all, he loves most to ride with his family and to encourage and support others to discover and learn for themselves.
When I first began mountain biking and was about to ride in a multi-day event, I ran into Johnny. Feeling anxious, I said, “I can’t believe I have to ride my bike for seven days.” He looked at me, with his young kids in tow and said with a beaming smile, “Krista, you get to ride your bike for seven days…” It completely changed my perspective, and that is exactly what Johnny does for this sport and those into it, whatever age, whatever level. He makes it fun, he makes it a sport for everyone.
Johnny’s the guy you call when the event you’re hosting is coming up and a tree has fallen or you’re worried about one section. He’s the guy who already thought about it, fixed the issue and any others you didn’t notice, is there the day of to participate, and of course to lend a hand where he can before or after competing.
We all have a plethora of “Johnny” stories. Because he is the heart of Mountain Biking in our town. He is someone who would put his heart into riding the BC Bike Race, enjoying every single minute of it. And he is someone we all feel deserves the chance.