In 1973, a small group of central Oklahoma cyclists organized an event called the Greater Oklahoma City Century Run (GOCCR). The flyers for the event inferred that there was a bicycle club behind the event although OBS was not organized until the following year. Once organized, OBS resolved to put on a cycling event each fall. The event was held for several years at Stars & Stripes Park at Lake Hefner and was called the “19xx Classic”. The ride then moved to Lake Overholser where it blossomed into a double and triple century (37 laps around the lake).
The triple century fad moved to Lake Draper as a century, a double century and a 500k distance. No one seems to remember the name given these rides, but they satisfied the need for fall centuries sponsored by OBS.
When the oil industry stopped financing the trails at Lake Hefner, the Oklahoma City Beautiful group took over. They hired an executive director who offered to chair the bicycle “century” group and get us some sponsors if we would move our fall distance rides back to Stars & Stripes. We agreed and they did help. The ride still had the word “Classic” in the title and the number of riders seemed to hover around 200-300.
Sometime in the mid 80’s Bert Cooper began to sit in the event planning sessions, and he convinced the committee that more pizzazz was needed make the event high-profile. Hal McKnight (of Wheeler Dealer bike shop) had also joined the planning group, and it was he who suggested “The Streak” as a name for the event. The group accepted the name and it became an event which grew to about 1000 participants. During these sessions, the OBS advisors insisted that bike riders not be used as support people because they should be riding. That arguably was a mistake for OBS, because we began to be overlooked.
Eventually the ride lost its bicycle identity and became a hodge-podge event which included rollerbladers, runners, hospital bed races, etc. But the trails system did materialize as you see it today as the result of Bert Cooper’s diligence and maneuvering in the State and City political arena to get 90% government funding of the trails as a part of the Transportation system “IceTea” funds.
Somewhere along the way in the early 90’s, Integris Hospital became a major sponsor and their name was added to the name of the event, the “Integris Lake Hefner Streak”. After the trails were completed in 1998, Integris was facing some financial difficulties and decided to withdraw as the Steak’s major sponsor. OKC Beautiful decided they didn’t want to conduct the Streak without their primary sponsor, so the event was not held in 1999. At that point, OBS resolved to once again take over operation of the event. The name “Lake Hefner Streak” could no longer be used since due some legal technicalities, but that was not to deter those within OBS who were determined to continue the strong tradition of a fall cycling event sponsored by the club. The Stars & Stripes starting location had become less than desirable anyway due to the increased traffic in the area. So the event was moved to its current location at Mercy Hospital and was renamed the “OBS Streak”. The event has returned to its roots as a cycling-only event conducted entirely by a bicycle club.
Editor’s note: A great big THANK YOU to Red Callaway, one of the founders of OBS, for his help in constructing this history of the Streak.