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Happy Birthday Sweet Six-Tee

My husband turns 60 this month. Yes, it's a milestone birthday for David: The big SIX-0. For David's 60th birthday celebration he'll be doing exactly what he loves – drag racing! This summer, at the age of 60, David will be Canada's sole “Top Fuel” representative at the IHRA Rocky Mountain Nationals. The Rocky Mountain Nationals is hosted at Edmonton's Castrol Raceway and is the largest and most prestigious drag racing event in Canada. David is competing in the professional “Top Fuel” category which is the very pinnacle of the sport of drag racing.

Exactly why a young boy from Neepawa Manitoba developed a lifelong passion for drag racing is uncertain – even David's mom isn't sure. As a kid, David built model race cars and at the age of 17 he built his first race car – an A-Fuel Rear Engine Dragster. For the next 14 years he was a regular competitor in the semi-pro ranks of the NHRA and raced mostly in Canada and the Mid-Western USA.

David and I met in 1986 on my 20th birthday. He was 31 and employed full time at the University of Manitoba as an Engineer Research Technologist. When David introduced me to the world of drag racing I instantly fell in love. Drag racing is a combination of cutting edge science and technology, critical thinking and steel grit and determination. I loved being at the race track and I loved the hard work and dedication that was required to get us there.In the early days of our relationship we spent most evenings in David's shop working on his Dragster. When we weren't working on the race car, we were working on sponsorship proposals and it wasn't long before we were dreaming about racing full time. "Can we really do this, David?" I would ponder. "Kelly, we can do anything!" David would assure me.

So we started to take action. Our vision board became a large wall map of the USA and we used stick pins to indicate all of the race tracks we could compete at. David quit his job at the University of Manitoba, we purchased an 18-wheel semi-truck and trailer and outfitted it with comfortable living quarters, we sold our home and in early September 1990, hit the road. There's certainly something to be said here about the innocence of youth. I was just shy of 24 when we hit the road and I was fearless. The world was my oyster. Our son Nikolas was only 6 weeks old.Over the next four years we spent most of our time on the road criss-crossing the USA. We match raced and we competed in both the IHRA and the NHRA. We also spent a considerable amount of time drag racing in Japan. It truly was an adventure of a life-time. We returned to Canada full time in 1994 and committed to a slower life pace. Nikolas was almost school age and stability became our focus. Life was good but it was only a matter of time before our passion for drag racing would once again bubble to the surface.

I firmly believe that each and every one of us needs a vision for what our old age is going to look like. A great first step is to ask yourself "What do I want to be doing in five years?" David, Nik and I came together and asked that question in 2012 and we all had the same answer – we wanted to be drag racing professionally. And so began our next big adventure: Dark Side Racing, Western Canada's only Top Fuel representative. We are Calgary based, family owned and operated. A top fuel Dragster is not just a race car, it's a full-out sensory experience. Powered by Nitro Methane, Top Fuel Dragsters are the fastest sanctioned category of drag racers. Capable of traversing the mile with speeds that exceed 300 mph (that's almost 500 km!) in under 5 seconds, our Dragster leaves the starting line with a force nearly five times that of gravity. That's double the g- force of the Space Shuttle when it leaves the launching pad at Cape Canaveral!!

I share David's passion for drag racing but I also understand that screaming down the 1/4 mile in an earth bound rocket might not be everyone's cup of tea. The important message that I want to share is that David will be celebrating his 60th birthday doing exactly what he loves because he had a dream. There's no right or wrong way to envision our future, but I encourage everyone to dream BIG! How we age has a lot to do with our attitude towards aging and a positive attitude can make all the difference in the world. If you ask David, he'll tell you he still feels like he's 14, and I agree. An "inner child" resides within us all - the creative, imaginative and artistic self that, for many, is aching to get out. Growing up is so over-rated!