Keith Sayers has been riding motorcycles since he was nine years old. Today, he brings his one-of-a-kind freestyle motocross (FMX) shows around the world. He’s been planning the show and leading the athletes behind the Bell Adrenaline Ranch since 2014. This year, the Bell Adrenaline Ranch moves into Corral in BMO Centre. The show – Ramp Up!- promises more tricks, flips and pyrotechnics than ever before. Learn more about Keith, the planning behind Ramp Up and how special it is to perform at the Calgary Stampede in the interview below. (Show times and dates listed after the interview.)
Calgary Stampede: How old were you when you first got on a motorcycle? When did you know you had found your life’s work?
Keith Sayers: I got my first motorcycle at age 12. I bought it for 10 dollars from my neighbour. It didn’t run so my father taught me how to work on it so I could always work on my own bikes. The first time I rode a motorcycle, I knew that it was what I wanted to do for a living. I just didn’t know it would be FMX–I thought it would be racing. Living in Montana and only being able to ride half of the year makes that difficult.
CS: What do you love most about what you do?
KS: I love travelling to different countries and meeting people from all over the world. I’ve performed in Moscow, Tel Aviv, Prague, New Zealand, Australia, China–to name a few.
CS: The best reaction you’ve gotten around the world?
KS: To be totally honest, the best reaction I’ve ever seen is at the Bell Adrenaline Ranch. Nobody expects to see a snowmobile come out on asphalt, let alone to do a backflip. You can feel the amazement in the crowd.
CS: Do you ever feel scared?
KS: Every time I ride I’m scared. We are risking life and limb out there to do what we love.
The scariest part is the first jump. Your bike runs differently at different elevations, in different conditions. Motorcycles don’t have speedometers, so it’s all on instinct.
But there is no better feeling than having the spectators sitting on the edge of their seats with their hearts pounding.
CS: Tell us the thinking behind the 2016 Bell Adrenaline Ranch? Any cool new things we should look out for?
KS: We’ve been planning and working on the show since last September. Our number one issue that makes our job ever more scary is dealing with mother nature, so it’s a relief to have it indoors this year. It a whole new feel for 2016.
CS: Any interesting stats you can share?
In 2015 Bell Adrenaline Ranch there were more than 300 backflips performed.
CS: What’s it like performing at the Stampede? What’s special about this event for you and your team?
KS: I’ve performed in events all over the world and none compare to the Calgary Stampede. With this being our eighth year in a row performing, it’s like home to us. The spectators, employees and volunteers are amazing and the atmosphere is like nothing I’ve ever been around.
Show dates and times:
July 7 (Sneak-A-Peek): 5:45 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
July 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 & 17: 12:30 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 4 p.m., 5:45 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
July 10 & 13: 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 4 p.m., 5:45 p.m., 7:30 p.m.