To borrow from John Lennon, life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. Four Horsemen Poker Run organizer Shannon Radtke and her business partner Jason Lindemann, for example, had planned to have their best event ever in 2018. They had a record-setting 75-boat fleet and a breezeless, postcard-perfect day—the previous year’s run had seen howling winds churn Lake Winnebago in Oshkosh, Wis., into chunky chocolate milk. Their plan was unfolding perfectly.
Until suddenly and tragically, it wasn’t.
The best go-fasting boating event in Wisconsin is heading into 10th year. Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
After landing for event photographer Pete Boden to exit, the event helicopter flying as a photo platform for the run lifted off and struck power wires above the Fox River. The helicopter crashed into the water below and its 27-year-old pilot, Jonathon Bahr, was killed. The incident closed the river for hours, but even if it had not the run was over.
Though there were plenty of tears, the participants carried on bravely at the awards dinner and auction, paid tribute to the pilot and celebrated Boden’s good fortune. Tragedy bonds people in extraordinary ways. But for good reason, the celebration was muted. Appropriately so, it was a million miles away from what Radtke and Lindemann had planned.
Read more: Four Horsemen Poker Run Back In The Saddle