Commentary: Hope For A Strong Finish

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For offshore powerboat racing, the 2017 season could be the toughest in the history of the sport. And that presents an opportunity. Photo courtesy/copyright Speedonthewater.com.

If it weren’t the truth, no one would be able to believe the tragedy that’s befallen offshore powerboat racing this season. Two racers—David Raabe and Keith Holmes—died in accidents during events. Another competitor, Kyler Talbot, died from injuries sustained in a fall at his home in Bremerton, Wash.

Far less tragic but still indicative of hard times, Super Boat International dumped its Marathon, Fla., contest this year, though it wasn’t a great loss to race teams or fans, and went down to a four-race regular season. While the Offshore Powerboat Association added a race—the Bimini World Resorts Grand Prix—a high-seas forecast brought on by Hurricane Irma forced the organization to cancel its Maryland race for the second year in a row. And that was in addition to the two events cut short by the above-noted fatal incidents.

Of course, the woes of offshore racing this year didn’t confine themselves to domestic competition. Lacking a promoter, the Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 circuit didn’t even have a 2017 season, save for one race in Italy scheduled for the end of the month.

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Still Making a Statement

From the day I met Nick Buis and Todd Werner, the owners of Statement Marine in St. Petersburg, Fla., at a Powerboat magazine test in Fort Myers, Fla., in late 2008, they were quite clear about their intentions in the performance boat marketplace, to make a statement. That’s why they named the company Statement Marine.

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The team at Statement Marine is a big reason for the company’s success after 10 years in business. Photo courtesy Statement Marine

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Boaters Continue Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts in Texas

Stretching well beyond the performance boat community—as in mass media via the world’s leading international news sources and the infinite abyss known as social media—the positive stories regarding people using their boats in the rescue efforts following Hurricane Harvey, which devastated parts of Texas in late August, have been incredible.

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Once the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office knew it was safe to leave Louisiana following its own Hurricane Harvey aftermath, the team left to assist in the rescue efforts in Texas. Photo courtesy Casey Harrison

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Party Every Day

Between mistakenly bypassing a late-night turnpike toll road station in Oklahoma, making a stop for lunch at the off-the-wall Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas, and doing a triple take at the late-August snowfall along Interstate 40 in New Mexico, I felt slightly out of place during my drive home from Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks to California earlier this week.

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I also felt out of place because for the previous six days, it was go-go-go at the lake between covering the extensive Lake of the Ozarks Shootout events and trying to make the overwhelming amount of parties—as in more than I could possibly attend. I know going into the Shootout each year that there are parties in store, but this year myself—and the rest of the crew at speedonthewater.com that was in town for the event and the extremely popular Super Cat Fest at Camden on the Lake Resort—were slightly overwhelmed with everything happening.

So, while reflecting on all that had happened since I left my house with the speedonthewater.com trailer in tow on August 19, it was fitting that I heard the Kiss song “I Wanna Rock and Roll All Night (and Party Every Day)” several times on satellite radio because that could have been the anthem for the week in Missouri.

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And The Winner Is: That Dam Street Party

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Last night’s celebration of high-performance powerboats and more at the Lake of the Ozarks was simply epic. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Covering the Desert Storm Poker Run, the Boyne Thunder Poker Run and the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout—OK, well, my fellow columnist Jason Johnson and I are just getting started on that one—I’ve had the great fortune of attending the three street parties that lead off each of these first-rate events. Each street party not only celebrates the finest go-fast boating hardware on the planet but also the three small towns—Lake Havasu City, Ariz., Boyne City, Mich., and Lake Ozarks, Mo.—that host them. Beyond an evening diversion for the participants, they exist to thank and show appreciation for the local townspeople and businesses that support the events.

Take nothing away from the Desert Storm and Boyne Thunder happenings, they were excellent. But last night’s Shootout On The Strip Meet and Greet powerboat display on Bagnell Dam Boulevard knocked me out me in a way no such event ever has before or likely ever will again.

What was so impressive about the Shootout On The Strip? A better question would be: What wasn’t?

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Related Story: Coverage of the 2017 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout