Story Courtesy: http://www.thetimesherald.com/story/news/local/port-huron/2015/08/07/racing-fans-meet-drivers-fast-powerful-boats/31316889/
Jonathan Petrick said powerboats are like men because “they make noise and they smell bad.”
He’s really a fan.
Jonathan, 9, was getting autographs with his dad, Michael, and sister, Elizabeth, during a meet and greet Friday evening with racers at the Port Huron/Sarnia International Offshore Powerboat Race. The event continues through Sunday.
“This is an exciting weekend to be out here with the racers,” Michael Petrick said.
Friday’s events were scheduled to include a free concert with local favorite Emily Torres as well as national recording artist David Shelby and Detroit legend Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.
The boats were the big draws for the Petrick family, however.
“I like the noise,” Jonathan said.
“He was sitting in the cockpit of Pirate Racing earlier,” Michael Petrick said. “He enjoyed that.”
Trent Walsh, 12, of Port Huron was collecting autographs and photos of the race boats.
“I’ve always had an interest since I was a little baby,” he said. “I’ve always been into it.”
He said he keeps treasured photos from previous races in a special place at home.
“I like to keep them in little frames and keep them put up,” he said.
Dave Bertram, commander of the Blue Water Chapter of Boat4Vets, was marshaling a team of volunteers to collect donations before the concert. He said the group will treat more than 100 veterans to boat rides and a barbecue from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 15, starting at the River Street Marina in Port Huron.
“A lot of our local boaters donate their time and their boats to take our local veterans out for a day of fun and relaxation,” he said.
In addition to the donations, Boat4Vets also received a portion of the VIP ticket sales for the concert.
Bertram said he enjoys the weekend of powerboat racing.
“This is our second year coming here,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun.
“There was a really good turnout last year. Hopefully this year will be even better.”
Ed Smith, of St. Clair, who will be driving the Cleveland Construction boat in the Supercat class as well as the Cat Can Do unlimited boat, was signing autographs and handing out flying discs. He said interest in the race is growing on the U.S. side of the St. Clair River — but it doesn’t yet match the interest on the Canadian side.
“I tell you what, on the Canadian side they’re lined up probably 15 to 25 people deep along that wall,” he said.
Keith Holmes, of Nunica, is the owner and throttleman for Cat Can Do and the throttleman for Cleveland Construction. He describes feeding power to the big boats’ engines as “awesome — it’s like holding 3,400 horsepower in your hands.”
“Right now, we’re trying to win the national championship,” he said.
Davey Genaw, of Port Huron Township, shows classic cars. He also enjoys the fast boats.
“I like the speed,” he said. “I like watching them throw the fishtail in back. I like seeing them come to Port Huron.
“They need to come here for the people to enjoy.”
He said he’ll be back Saturday to watch the boats practice on the course and again on Sunday for the race.
“They usually have a pretty good crowd here,” he said.
“Beautiful boats — it’s nice to watch people taking pictures.”
Contact Bob Gross at (810) 989-6263 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @RobertGross477.