North Cariboo Gymkhana Society honours parents through Blue Jay Memorial Award

Ashley Schmidt (left) described Oct. 16 as an emotional night when the Blue Jay Memorial Award was presented for the first time by the North Cariboo Gymkhana Society. (North Cariboo Gymkhana Society- Quesnel BC Facebook photo)Ashley Schmidt (left) described Oct. 16 as an emotional night when the Blue Jay Memorial Award was presented for the first time by the North Cariboo Gymkhana Society. (North Cariboo Gymkhana Society- Quesnel BC Facebook photo)
Ashley Schmidt is proud of the Blue Jay Memorial Award that honours her father and parents actively involved with the North Cariboo Gymkhana Society. (Rebecca Dyok photo)Ashley Schmidt is proud of the Blue Jay Memorial Award that honours her father and parents actively involved with the North Cariboo Gymkhana Society. (Rebecca Dyok photo)

The memory of Gordon (Gord) Roberts lives on not just through the food his daughter cooks up at The Blue Jay Bistro in Quesnel’s Alex Fraser Park, but a new award honouring parents involved with the North Cariboo Gymkhana Society.

Steve Hohmann, Glen Larson and Dave Strang were presented the first Blue Jay Memorial Award at an awards night, concluding another successful season Saturday, Oct. 16.

“I cried for a while. It’s really hard to get that kind of a response out of me as I’m not an emotional person,” Blue Jay Bistro owner Ashley Schmidt said.

“But I didn’t know it was coming, and it’s cool to me because we do a lot of other things for my dad.”

Roberts was born and raised in Nakusp, where gymkhana was a big part of his life.

Being an active member of his community and volunteering was important to him, Schmidt added, noting how she carries on those values.

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In June 2021, ten years after his passing, Schmidt opened her seasonal park take-out restaurant in which she donates a dollar from the sale of every Gordo Burger to local youth programs.

She has also hosted delicious fundraisers supporting not-for-profits such as the North Cariboo Gymkhana Society and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Quesnel.

Society president Lindsay Brunt said she had read why Schmidt decided to support the club in her dad’s name.

“Gord never was part of our club, but we felt that we could honour him that way,” Brunt said, noting it had been some time since they created a new award.

“It was something that would be kind of neat to recognize parents and volunteers that are active in our club and in his name.”

On Oct. 16. Schmidt catered dinner for the night in which an awards ceremony had followed.

Brunt said they invited Schmidt to the ceremony, surprising her with the announcement and unveiling of the Blue Jay Memorial Award.

“I had no clue they were doing that, and everybody cried,” Schmidt said. “It was very, very cool.”

The Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992—the same year Schmidt said Roberts, a big baseball fan, bought his first logging truck, naming his trucking company Blue Jay Trucking.

Years later, he had purchased Saddleback Sport and Marine in Nakusp, renaming it Blue Jay’s Sport and Marine.

Five years after the family had moved to Quesnel, Roberts passed away suddenly on May 27, 2011, at the age of 45.

Schmidt was presented with a blue ribbon and a plaque by the North Cariboo Gymkhana Society that will celebrate their 30th anniversary next year.

Editor’s Note: Ashley Schmidt is the daughter of Quesnel Observer publisher Tracey Roberts


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