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    by Published on 06-26-2015 01:58 PM



    OUTLAW TEXXXAS CREWED 2015


    Preface: This time we have some interesting changes for those familiar with my poker run reviews. I have always towed a boat to a poker run event. This time I was attending the Outlaw Challenge as a crew member on another persons boat.

    Overview of Event:

    The Texas Outlaw Challenge is located in Clear Lake Texas within the host city of Kemah, Texas. The event has many items on their schedule but the primary draw is the boating poker run and Shootout. The Shootout is where the respective boats go out and run the best speed they can in a controlled environment. Each boat is provided with a official GPS unit and the driver and throttle person go out and run the boat. The goal and hope is to achieve the highest top speed for their boat class. Boat classes are determined by hull style and power choices. The actual poker run itself is held over two days and all card stops are open throughout the day and are easy to find businesses on the water [or the first stop an enormous home with Texas sized hospitality also known as the Armstrong family home.]. The location in Kemah Texas is known for it’s boardwalk along the water which includes numerous outstanding restaurants, bars, and live entertainment. For the boater full service marine repair shops are minutes away including a super West Marine store if you should forget an item or two. For further information and schedule look at the website "www.texasoutlawchallenge.com."

    Intro:

    It all began at the Tickfaw 200 when things were winding down on Sunday. We were having a social hour at the marina and hosted an impromptu happy hour with our new found friends Paul and Carla Shouse from Conroe Texas. During our numerous discussions and critic of fine Southern California Tequila selections we mentioned that we would not be attending the Outlaw Challenge as it was too much for us to handle logistically [namely in terms of time]. Shortly after this topic we were asked by Paul and Carla if we would like to attend Outlaw Challenge as guests on their boat. Paul and Carla had just become the owners of a famous west coast boat “Risky Business” a forty foot Skater with supercharged big inch motors. The boat is now ported in Montgomery Texas and subsequently renamed “Texxxas Crewed II”, coincidence or irony it seemed the perfect transition for us to crew on the boat.

    Once we returned to San Diego we considered the invitation heavily and discussed our commitment on the topic. Why you ask? Well we have four children and the event concluded this year on Fathers Day. Note: We spoke to quite a few regular poker run participants and they indicated they would not be attending the event because of this reason. As a courtesy we immediately telephoned Paul and Carla and informed them we had accepted their offer and would be attending Outlaw as their honored crew. We began our preparation and scrolled through the available flights with my wife Lora and found an early departure on Sunday morning allowing us to be back home with our family and kids for Fathers Day brunch. Having solved this initial problem we now had to prepare for being crew members on our friends boat.

    Crew Prep:

    This may seem easy for some but the pressure is on for us to be the best crew we possible can and help our hosts with pre poker run preparation. As a crew member the roles for me changed dramatically as I cannot ever recall being a guest or crew on another captains boat during an event. I quickly made a list of things to cover or discuss with our captain. A person or crew must take into account several categories at least from my perspective. I have provided a list below which is not all inclusive but some of the main ones I considered and addressed:

    1. Do they have enough PFD’s?
    2. Do they fit properly and are they USCG approved?
    3. What items do I need to bring i.e...sun screen, towels, coolers, beverages etc...
    4. Is there anything they need from us to bring for the boat or otherwise?
    5. What if anything can we do to make the experience better?
    6. Cost sharing? This includes but is not limited to fuel, hotel rooms, registration fees, extra wrist bands, Note: If you invite a person to crew on your boat and have expectations of cost sharing discuss it immediately.

    I telephoned Paul and asked him if he had enough PFD’s [personal flotation devices commonly known as life jackets]. It is important to note in our boat everyone wears a PFD at all times while at speed or running an event. Paul indicated that he did have several Lifeline jackets which may fit. However, I quickly informed him that Lifelines... although a superior PFD... are not United States Coast Guard [USCG] approved. Therefore he would need one USCG approved jacket for all on board. He quickly remedied this issue and provided supplemental approved jackets for the run. Helping your Captain and crew members is a duty everyone should take seriously. It is not about right or wrong but about having a safe day on the water and being in compliance with boating regulations. As performance boaters we should set the example for other boaters as we draw a lot of attention from spectators including those that might be envious or critical of our vessel choice.

    Carla and I had another subsequent discussion and she informed us she had all the personal items we would need. This included soft sided coolers and plenty of towels and sun screen. I also discussed if their was anything else we could bring along with times and scheduling for the event. We agreed that everything was covered including our airline arrival times and where we would meet up.

    The Outlaw Challenge is three days of boating with the primary days being Friday and Saturday. It is important to discuss scheduling and meet times for all involved and adhere to them. As nothing is worse than waiting to launch or depart while having crew members or a captain not being present or late. Our crew was well versed in meet times and everything went smoothly because we discussed times early on and agreed unanimously on those times. Communication is key this does not mean you cannot call and alter plans or make unforeseeable stops. As long as everyone knows what is going on and can plan accordingly.

    On the topic of making things better overall, a crew member is not limited to just showing up. I decided unilaterally to book and pay for a slip at the Kemah Marina for the duration of the event. I know and appreciate as a boat owner and captain what a luxury it is to have the boat already in the water during an event. No need for daily launching and all you do is simply show up in the morning to depart for our day on the water. In addition, bring beverages that you prefer to drink in quantities that everyone can enjoy. This includes plenty of water and sports drinks to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.

    As a crew member you should be actively involved in helping the captain in tying fenders, docking, boat handling and prep. A good poker run crew does all of the above including acting as a look out for the captain while underway or idling through channels. This is based on the presumption on the crew member has such experience. I have had people aboard our boat who did not know what a fender was nor what to do with a dock line. A seasoned boater knows the difference between a line and a rope and a fender versus buoy. If they do not...I usually attempt to provide enough information for them so they feel part of the team. Also launching the boat taking straps off loading all necessary stuff parking the truck and trailer shuttling or driving people to and from marina. The list can be endless just be active or pro-active depending on your personality type.

    The issue of cost sharing is a sensitive subject that is brought up frequently by many but rarely see’s the light of day or resolution. We were flying in and had booked our own hotel room including rental car. We had offers from other hosts to stay at their homes but this was a trip with no kids so we opted for a gorgeous lake view hotel room. Thus costs as to these items were clearly upon us. I spoke with Paul are captain and host and informed him that we would pay for extra wrist bands as crew members. Paul is the president of the Conroe Texas chapter of Texas Offshore Performance Power Squadron [TOPPS] and his registration and one crew member [his wife Carla] were complimentary. This was done as a courtesy by Texas Outlaw Challenge promoters to promote participation from surrounding boating clubs. However, if it was not then prospective crew members and guests should discuss this cost item prior to arriving.

    Items such as food and drinks are usually bourne by the individuals unless some alternate arrangements have been made in advance. Now fuel in my experience is paid for by the host and boat owner/captain. The rationale is if someone invites you on their boat they are going to go anyway yet they just wish or desire your company aboard as a crew member/guest. Now conversely if you request to ride on a person’s vessel than some form of [realistic payment] is in order. In our case, I offered to pay for gas as a courtesy and allow the host to decline... which Paul so graciously declined. This is not the case in many online forums. Phrases such as “my boat does not run on thanks” is common place. Hence my caveat to those unfamiliar with boating etiquette discuss it first before you accept or request to board a vessel for an event. Different boat captains have their own ideas of hospitality and this issue can be abrasive on long runs. Note: I have never requested or had someone pay for fuel in my boat as a guest. I like the offer but always politely decline.

    Event:

    For those interested in the Outlaw Challenge event on goings I will touch on some of the important events by day. On Friday as customary the entire poker run fleet gathers at Mr. Kenny Armstrong’s home which is the first stop on the poker run card. A little background is in order on this extraordinary stop. This home is enormous and is located in Dickinson Texas and can be found via land or water. All costs associated with food, drink and amenities are paid for by the Armstrong family as a way to give back to the performance boating community. The home has dock frontage for well over 200 plus boats and hundreds of poker run participants.

    Upon arrival you quickly notice the hotel sized pool complete with swim up bar, slide and Jacuzzi bar. The bar was complimentary and open for the entire day along with some of the best food at any poker run. I will go out and say Robert from Topwater Grill lays out the finest food I have ever had at an event. As a restaurant bar owner I know what I am talking about when I make such statements. The food was incredible from grilled shrimp, fish, jumbo lump crab wraps and my favorite a Ahi tuna carving station. I challenge anyone to point to a better display of poker run food than what the Armstrong family provided on Friday. No coupons were required and everyone could eat to their hearts content.

    I observed a lot of alcoholic beverages being consumed and not one fight or argument amongst hundreds of boaters. No boating incidents either as I observed many responsible captains and designated drivers. We all know that one mistake and the community will single out the performance boating crowd in order to place blame. However, no one recognizes the efforts when things go smoothly and incident free and that credit goes to the attendee’s who were all on their best behavior.

    Once again, a big Texas thank you to the Armstrong family for their generosity, hospitality and contributions to the Outlaw Challenge. I think there should be a Guinness/Texas record for hosting the largest boating party in the United States.

    The second day of the event was held at Harborwalk in Hitchcock Texas at Floyd’s on the Water. All the poker run participants leave Kemah boardwalk and head over to this destination via boat while others go by car. The run to Floyd’s and Galveston is were everyone can exercise their engines and run for quite some distance. The venue has two pools and a restaurant with plenty of dock space for everyone. This year the food was done buffet style for the standard poker run entry and for an additional sum you could avail your self of the VIP buffet with additional items and entree’s. I told the owner Bret Floyd his efforts were outstanding this year and his hard work was paying off. Everyone was extremely happy with the service and food. After lunch at Floyd’s everyone returns to Kemah to other card stops which are closer in proximity to the boardwalk. Followed later that evening for the card turn in and high roller hands. If you wanted to draw cards for the high roller jackpot you had to buy in on that separate pool which had a large cash prize.

    On Sunday the Outlaw Challenge does a wind down pool party however this year Fathers Day was on Sunday and we could not participate. I also suspect many participants were in the same position and departed early Sunday morning to be with their families. I have attended the wind down pool party in years past and it is a relaxing way to finish up the weekend before heading home. I highly recommend it if you have the time.

    Last but no least we would like to thank all the volunteers and ladies at registration who work tirelessly to make this event the best it can be. A big thank you to Paul Robinson who makes sure everyone is happy and organizes the event months in advance. Art Denick who runs the Shootout format of the Outlaw Challenge. Thank you.... if it wasn’t for you there wouldn’t be a Outlaw Shootout. The format of this years event was outstanding and the organization was smooth and easy to follow. Great job to all involved in putting on the Outlaw Challenge.

    In closing I learned a lot on this trip and found that our boating friends and community as a whole really our some of the best friends we have. To pass on an event because we have already done it... is not at the core of why we do it. I learned we do this because of friendships with our performance boating friends from Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida and all over the country. To all of our friends who could not make it, we miss you as well and hope to see you on the water soon.

    From all of us aboard “Texxxas Crewed II” be safe.

    John Kap Caparell

    Footnote 1: Photograph your insurance documents on your phone or keep a copy on the boat along with insurance. Marina’s will not book your slip without those documents so check in advance what is required so you have the documents you need.

    Footnote 2: Thank you so much Paul and Carla Shouse for all your hospitality.



    About the Author: He resides in San Diego California as a performance boater for years. He is passionate about boating and travels to many boating destinations including poker runs and Shootout’s annually. He is an independent writer and has published numerous reviews and articles. The goal for this author is to provide information to other performance boaters about specific events and areas from a participants perspective versus general commentary. Questions and comments can be directed to him at contact@dougwrightwest.com.
    by Published on 05-11-2015 09:16 AM     Number of Views: 195 



    TICKFAW 200 REVISITED 2015


    Foreword: As most of you know I always do a Poker Run Review after an event. This time the review is about our second visit to the Tickfaw 200 in South Louisiana. This review will focus on any changes to the event and different experiences from the prior year. In addition, we wanted to compare and contrast [revisit] our experiences of the event from the prior year. In keeping with tradition as most of the readers know these reviews are intended for the performance boater who would like a participants viewpoint rather than a paid promoter. It is my hope the readers will trust and rely upon my insight as good information on what to expect and look for when attending such an event.

    Intro:

    The Tickfaw 200 [hereinafter Tickfaw] poker run is held at the Blood River Marina in Livingston Parish, Springfield Louisiana. It was founded by Crazy Charlie who’s memory lives on through the efforts of Joey Fontenot and family, owners of the marina. Casey Harrison is also the Vice President and co-organizer for the event. It is the efforts of these two people and their families and countless volunteers, employees and local agencies that transform this sleepy marina into one of the best Poker Runs in the country.

    The schedule for the Tickfaw is spread out over two days and all stops are open throughout the event. There are no group starts or defacto races to the first card stop everyone can complete the event at their leisure. The more stops you went to the more cards you were dealt at the end of the day. This year if you went to at least 7 card stops you could buy another poker run hand for $100.00 versus paying $250. This motivates boaters to visit every venue during the event. I witnessed many boat captains at the card turn in with multiple locations punched on their event cards.

    The Tickfaw event covers an enormous area of water and provides both river and lake boating for the poker run attendee. The areas include Lake Maurepas and Lake Pontchartrain fed by fresh water rivers which include the Tickfaw, Tangipahoa, Amite, Tchefuncte, and Bogue Falaya. This event provides miles of boating with a variety of boating conditions from wide calm lake water to a rough wind whipped Ponchartrain chaos. The river boating is also amazing as you have twisty winding river tributaries including the man made diversion canal.

    Event:

    As most of you know we had made plans to return to the Tickfaw event even before the last boat was put on the trailer last year. We started from San Diego California which is 8 miles from the Mexican border as far Southwest as you can go [1,900 miles one way] to Springfield Louisiana. This year we contacted Casey Harrison and Joey Fontenot and made arrangements to stay on site at the Blood River Marina. Our rationale was we wanted to experience the event from it’s home location at the marina. The headquarters of the Tickfaw is the Blood River Marina and the famous bar/event headquarters which includes the famous “Funhouse.” The “Funhouse” is a open aired bar with a wooden boat converted into a bar complete with a stage dance floor and event registration center.

    Registration is a simple one page form and can be downloaded online along with the cost which was $250.00 for a two boat crew. The fee in my opinion is a bargain which also included one poker run hand and wrist bands for captain and one crew. I pre-registered as it makes things easier because as all you need to do when you arrive is pick up your materials. For those that like to buy multiple poker run hands you could buy as many as your pocket book could handle. The staff members at this event are warm and friendly and really offer south Louisiana hospitality like no other event. We made so many friends the prior year amongst staff and participating boaters alike our return was like coming home for us.

    The atmosphere of this event is very laid back and if I could choose one word to describe how the organizers and staff make you feel it would be “family”. This event unlike others we have attended has a high degree of camaraderie and everyone goes out of their way to make sure you have a great time. One caveat I will mention of importance to prospective boaters. This event is an adult venue and not suitable for minors as everyone must be 21 to enter the Fun House and most on water venues such as the Prop Stop, Hook Up, Blind River Bar Sun Buns is 21 years old or older.

    The Tickfaw event also raises a tremendous amounts of money for local law enforcement agencies of Livingston Parish. Jason Ard is the Chief of the Sheriff’s Department and along with Captain Chad McGovern, Tony and other officers set up a command post on site to ensure the safety of all attending and poker runners on the water. The command post was impressive and had onsite medic and helicopter and patrol boats for safety of all poker run participants. As a California boater such police presence would normally dampen some of the atmosphere but this was not the case. Officers would cook for all attending law enforcement personnel including any poker run participant. I can assure you the “pastalaya” a take on traditional Jambalaya prepared by one officer was superb and shared by all. Kudos to the departments attending one of the best community relations efforts anywhere in the country.

    As part of your registration packet Joey and Casey provide you with an amazing laminated map of all the card stops including GPS coordinates for any first timer to find all the card stops. It also makes a great souvenir poster to hang in the garage or man/woman cave. This year we had a crew member Rafe Guidry who is from Baton Rouge aboard and he was our defacto navigator for the event. Having a local person on board is such a bonus because they can advise you of any unknown water hazards and tricky approaches to some of the river entrances. If you do not have a local contact follow a boat or extend an invite to a knowledgeable boater. In the end whatever you do always have the Tickfaw map onboard as a reference...it is that good.

    Culture:

    In my previous review I did not mention the culture of South Louisiana a key component of this poker run. The food, hospitality and natural scenic beauty of the area are amazing and important in making this event stand out from all others. I cannot think of any other poker run that one can experience such diversity of cultural firsts. [Note: By cultural firsts I mean things that I have never seen or experienced which are unique to South Louisiana.]

    On Thursday we were taken out by Mr. Jeff Ford and Robinita Gilmore on their pontoon for what we described as the backwater cruise to Black Lake and Amite. It was an amazing experience from flora and fauna stand point... it was simply incredible. The deep rich black waters of the back Bayou are something every boater should experience. We saw numerous alligators and numerous birds including a once rare bird the Roseate Spoonbill commonly known as a flame bird or American Flamingo. We were also able to see and observe water moccasins and snapping turtles. The scenery was spectacular and render you speechless from the back water trees dripping with moss to the deep still waters of Black Lake.

    We also came across an amazing and unique church “Our Lady of Blind River” we stopped and visited including signing the book inside. Upon our departure I wondered what they think when they read San Diego California in the visitors book? It was an amazing experience and one we completely missed out on the first year. When traveling to other poker run venues, I urge you to go outside your comfort zone and develop friendships with locals and seek out different points of interest. You will soon discover things that no one else will see during their short stay. I understand most come for the poker run however if you miss the cultural highlights of the area you are doing yourself a great disservice. Plus I would venture to say with confidence very few out of state people have the opportunity to see what we have seen on this trip.

    Now the cultural aspect of the food in South Louisiana will astound you, even more so if you love seafood. The Tickfaw poker run includes many top ten foodie things to try including crawfish boils, catfish (no you haven’t tried real catfish like Middendorfs), gumbo, redfish, crawfish etouffe’, grilled oysters, po boys and so many other cultural foods exclusive to South Louisiana. I cannot think of any other poker run that offers so many regional food items inherently unique to this area of America.

    A local unheard of food favorite came up unexpectedly when I started talking with two brothers Jean Luis and Jacques Veillon. Jean Luis owns Veillon Food Market and makes something that is so delicious... called a Boudin Biscuit. I am talking “WOW” this was foodie heaven homemade crust with homemade boudin and cheese inside. The ultimate breakfast, lunch and dinner food... super delicious and ultra rich tasting. This is the Bayou’s best treat alongside a morning cup of coffee. Thank you to both brothers for their hospitality and friendship. If you’re on the fence about attending this event the foodie aspect should put you over the top on any list of boating events. I “Garunteee it” [using my best cajun accent].

    The people in South Louisiana are unpretentious and straight forward but most of all they have a sense of hospitality like no other. If your from out of town tell them your new and they will make sure you feel right at home. This is a key component of why this event has grown from 25 boats to over 350 with 380 poker run hands sold in one day. If you ask anyone attending this event if hospitality is a key component in their attending this event, they will not hesitate and most certainly tell you...it is the number one factor of repeat attendance. On a personal note I traveled 1900 miles one way driving solo with a 32 foot boat in tow. I did so not because I had to... but because I wanted to and it was worth every mile covered to get there.

    We also brought with us Southern California cultural beverages to share with our Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama etc... and performance boating friends. Micro distilled tequila which has many who have tried it, smiling and those that have tried it, now requesting it by name or send me photos of this tradition.

    We enjoy sharing cross cultural perspectives from our area amongst performance boaters which in turn builds friendship, trust and camaraderie.

    Boating:

    Preface: I covered the basics of boating the event in my 2014 Tickfaw review so I will try not to rehash general information.

    This year we stayed at Blood River Landing Marina via rv (versus hotels) and found it offered so many new experiences. The marina has it’s own launch ramp staff members will use a tractor to launch your boat and stow your trailer. It is akin to valet service and makes things so much easier for the poker run participant. As a California boater I was always concerned about safety of trailer boat etc... I can assure you having attended two consecutive years your boat and everything you brought is very safe and well taken care of. Joey and Casey have an outstanding group of staff members who are nice, patient and caring with all participants. What is surprising is most knew me by name a year later...it just adds to the level of comfort just like being at home [also don’t forget to tip volunteers and staff that help you].

    The poker run is held on two lakes Lake Maurepas and Lake Ponchartrain with poker run stops on both lakes. We found that doing all the stops on Lake Maurepas on Friday and then all the Lake Ponchartrain stops on Saturday was the way to go. The reason is most poker runners were following the same format. Therefore, you would have a greater number of fellow poker runners doing the same stops. This is important for safety reasons in case you had boat issues and for building better friendships and camaraderie. Keep in mind these lakes can get rough [yes I heard it often by newbies “Oh this isn’t rough it’s a lake” until they get out on it and find out] thus tagging along with other poker runners is a great idea.

    We tagged along with David Whelen, Jason Koehn and Ryan Bosworth and crew in their 44 Skater. Whereas in our 32 Doug Wright, our crew consisted of Lora Caparell, Tiffany Wilson, Rafe Guidry and myself. All exceptional crew members and boaters themselves. I will share this tip it is important to run with another boat that has the same speed or agrees to a set speed for the day. You don’t want to be constantly chasing someone or waiting for a slower boat. Talk to each other and come up with a plan that works for all involved. It really does make things that much more fun.

    If your worried about size of your boat put that aside this poker run had all types of boats participating from pontoons to million dollar plus catamarans. Unlike some other runs the Tickfaw run has a theme of inclusion hospitality and not snobbery, arrogance or exclusion. I would go a step further and say if anyone acted/behaved in such a manner. They would soon find themselves alone and drawing the ire of locals and other performance boaters.

    The poker run stops were all open both days so you can pick and choose which ones you wish to stop if you like you can create your own plan on how to manage the stops. An added incentive this year by Joey and Casey was if you went to at least 7 stops you could buy another poker run hand for $100. We love to boat so this was an added bonus as we went to every stop listed for the event. This incentive was done to promote all card stop businesses not just the closest or most popular ones.

    The first two days [Wednesday and Friday] we logged in 260 miles of boating on Saturday we only logged in 145 miles of boating. {Note: On Thursday we did the pontoon cruise through the backwaters.} For a grand total of 405 miles of on water boating we averaged 3.2 miles per gallon and maintained 100MPH boating over much of the larger lakes. This run offers plenty of room to exercise your engines and also offers a variety of river waterways to enjoy the scenery.

    Lastly, thank you to Joey Fontenot and his family as well as Casey Harrison. To the employees, volunteers who made the decision to put this event on again for 2015 your hard work and efforts made our stay one of the best. Unbeknownst to many Joey was contemplating not putting the event on for 2015 as it puts a huge strain on his family and time. I for one along with everyone attending were overjoyed Joey/Casey continued the tradition.

    We had the time of our lives and developed friendships that carried on even after the event was over. We appreciate all you do for the performance boating community and will nominate you as ambassador’s for the Louisiana Division of Tourism. To all our Bayou friends and boaters we enjoyed your friendship, hospitality and waterways.

    See you next year for sure!

    John "KAP" Caparell

    Footnote 1: As I stated in my 2014 review book your accommodations early as this event will have local hotels and accommodations booked months in advance. If you have a large group rent a home on one of the lakes or rivers as it is very convenient.

    Footnote 2: The trip meter on the truck had 4,231 miles traveled and 421 gallons of diesel. This does not include the fuel in the boat. It was worth every penny and we will do it again next year. I did have several obstacles while traveling including one flat and several truck issues. So plan accordingly bring tools and spare parts. Lastly, allow enough time to get to your destination if something does come up you can still make the event.

    About the Author: He resides in San Diego California and has been a performance boater for years. He is passionate about boating owns two boats and travels to many boating destinations including poker runs and Shootout’s annually. He is an independent writer for Hotboat.com and has published numerous reviews. The goal for this author is to provide information to other performance boaters about specific events and areas from a participants perspective versus general commentary. Questions and comments can be directed to him at contact@dougwrightwest.com.
    by Published on 04-27-2015 01:03 PM
    Article Preview

    Yet another successful weekend of racing in the books and I'll tell you, it was a great weekend. No major crashes. Unfortunately ...
    by Published on 04-13-2015 08:54 AM     Number of Views: 324 

    Thanks everybody. Great weekend hanging out with good friends and got to meet some very nice people. Gotta give some shout outs and props to some incredible people who helped me tremendously this weekend:

    Lucas Oil of course and Ken Dollar. Thank you Mr. Dollar
    Daren of OC Photographics
    Scott of Stryderphoto. Great weekend you guys!!
    Candace and the K711 team and all of the K Boat field. I owe you guys big time!!
    Matt Redd and Sara Record. Great finally meeting you Sara and thank you for the waters!
    And Jacque Ming. The sign is bitchen, thank you again!!
    by Published on 03-03-2015 02:53 PM  Number of Views: 674 

    If you missed it, the 7th Annual Route 66 Billy B's Hotboat and Car Show killed it in Needles last weekend. Bigger and better than ever imho. Billy B and the Needles Chamber pulled off another fantastic event this year. And as always, the hardware was off the hook. Great to see so many people bring out their pride and joy so that the rest of us could enjoy their hard work, thank you!!

    The threat of rain earlier in the week certainly didn't hamper the turnout and the weather ended up being fantastic. Great to see so many old friends and great to make a few new ones. Most of my weekend was spent taking pictures and passing out swag. Hotboat.com was a proud sponsor of this event again this year, and we definitely look forward to next year. I've posted many pics, and I'm still working on many more. Enjoy the photos and if you did not make it this year, we will be looking for you next

    HB

    by Published on 01-21-2015 10:44 AM

    Its no secret, I love taking pictures. Not sure why, but I've always loved it. I still consider myself a rookie to be honest. Never really had any formal training except a little in High School. Used to develop my own film, stuff like that. Boat races are fairly new to me, and I'll tell you, its a challenge. Tons of respect to guys like Mark McLaughlin and Darren, , Scott and Tom. You have to be a lunatic to stand in the sun for hours waiting to capture that moment that you hope no one else caught. And I'm not talking about crashes. It isn't uncommon to spend 8hrs a day, for three days in a row on your feet with your eye peering through the lens, waiting, snapping. And waiting. And snapping. And waiting.

    And that's the easy part. You then have to sift through sometimes thousands of photos looking for that pic you hope you caught. Sometimes this process takes days or weeks.

    In a very short period of time, 3-4 years, I've managed to capture somewhere around 50,000-60,000 photos. And that doesn't count phone pics. Add another 10-20,000 to that number. I have a 3TB + 2TB external drive that is almost full. I can't imagine how a guy like Mark deals with all the photos. Photos you dare never delete for various reasons.

    I had a little spare time this morning and started putting together a few of my favorites. Many of these have never been posted before for various reasons. Thought I would share since its winter and I'm absolutely dying to go to a boat race, boat show, or even do a little boating.

    Enjoy

    by Published on 12-02-2014 01:20 PM  Number of Views: 1033 

    Great weekend of racing at the 2014 Bluewater Thanksgiving Regatta last weekend in Parker, Az. No major incidents. Weather was amazing. Got to see some great racing. Huge turnout. And as always, Ross & Company did a fantastic job keepin...g the action moving along. Good to see some old friends and fortunate to make a few new ones. If you get a chance, show your support of our efforts to support these races and the racers alike and stop by our site and leave a comment or two, it would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to grab any photos you'd like, we just ask that you do not remove our watermark from the photo. Thanks again to the Bluewater for their hospitality and to all the support and safety people who make these events possible. And of course the racers who definitely put on a great show for all of us to enjoy. And lets not forget to remember Kyle Bement Memorial Page RIP Kyle.

    HB

    by Published on 09-29-2014 11:59 AM     Number of Views: 1133 

    The 11th Annual DCB Regatta was held at the Lake Havasu Nautical Inn, September 26-28th, 2014. And once again DCB and company did it right. If I'm not mistaken there were around 61 boats and/or owners in attendance. Many of the boats started getting together on Friday afternoon. Registration was held at the Nautical Friday evening over drinks. Good to see a few old friends and meet some new ones. As we drove up to the Nautical, I was surprised to see the first DCB I owned, a 1997 24' Extreme. Absolutely loved that boat and wish I could have kept her. She is apparently up for sale now. Good luck to the seller and new owner. Many very good family memories were spent in that boat.

    We were fashionably late to the registration party Friday night, but not too late as to miss spending time with friends and discussing the weekends activities. Which honestly I was looking forward to a fairly low key weekend. Since our base camp for the weekend was the Heat, I knew I was going to have a bit of a challenge in front of me in regard to docking and parking the boat and trailer. So I made a executive decision to rent a slip at the Lake Havasu Marina for Friday night. Since I would be pulling the boat out of the water Saturday, seemed like a reasonable thing to do.

    That was until I actually had the boat in the water and the wind decided it would do with me what it wanted. Nonetheless I am persistent and can be very patient. So after wearing several layers of material off my gearset while doing 7-8, 9 point turns, I finally got my potato chip in to her bed for the night. And I am so glad I spent the extra $10-12 for a 12' wide slip vs. a 10'. To be honest, I didn't sleep much Friday night as the weather wasn't exactly cooperating. I had visions of my baby on her side on top of the dock vs. next to the dock. A couple extra vodka's helped put my mind at ease and I finally fell asleep. lol.

    Saturday morning weather was sketchy at best. But after all the work I did the night before, there was no question we would be boating today. Come hell or tornadic winds, we would be boating. After a few cups of coffee and half a bottle of Advil, it was off to the 10am drivers meeting.

    Shortly after the drivers meeting we were instructed to head over to Thompson Bay, circle the wagons and follow Bob Teague's F32 in to the channel for our annual DCB parade through the channel. Seemed like we did 7-8 circles, but finally managed to parade through the channel. This is probably the only time my boat actually sees the channel. It's a fun sight to see and a little more fun parading through it, but I'm not one to park and hang out. I bought my boat to drive it, so lets get this thing going already

    One of my favorite parts of this regatta are the running shots. And kudos to DCB and the rest of the DCB family for somehow managing to keep this thing moving super fast this year. Last year I think I burned a quarter tank of fuel waiting for our turn. Not the case this year. It was almost hurry up and get your jackets on we're next. Another rare occasion for me as I am not used to firewalling my baby and praying my drive holds up to max boost. But she did and after several seconds of losing the horizon (4 people aboard, full fuel, and a tall prop) we rolled over and were shortly on our way to 80+.

    The DCB chopper and Tommy (Tommygun photography) seemed to be inches away from us as I did my best to stay in front of the chopper, keep the right side of the boat up, and my passengers from committing mutiny. But all ended well and hopefully Tommy got at least one good shot of my good side.

    After the running shots we sprinted toward the card stops. Havasu Landing first for us, then onward toward the Springs. We kept the speeds reasonable. 70-80 most of the time, about all my little boat could handle considering the chop was pretty decent. I can usually tell if I've beaten my passengers up by how sore my body is the next day. I felt pretty good, so hopefully everyone had a good ride. I even felt pretty good about my speed as I only got passed 4-5 times. But when I did get passed, I got passed big. So I didn't feel too bad. Its when someone passes you and they're doing 3-5mph faster and you can't catch them. That's when it sucks to have the slower boat. Now if they're passing you 30-50mph faster? well nothing you can do about that except smile

    We hung out and tied up to a group of DCB'ers in one of the coves. The weather was great, the people were friendly, and we had a great time. Only problem is our camp leader, whose name escapes me because we forgot to designate a camp leader, forgot to pack food. So around 3pm or so we were all starving. So off to the Nautical we went.

    After a late lunch I decided to put my little boat away and do absolutely nothing for the rest of the day. What a great decision that was.

    Later that evening we headed to the DCB Black and White party. And we were only 1 1/2hrs late LOL. Dinner was in full swing by the time we arrived and a few of the guests were well on their way to an epic night. We had a bite to eat and before you could say M29 with a single 1350 and #8 (my dream boat), the door prizes were flying.

    For some reason this night, don't ask me why as I've never won a door prize in my life, there was absolutely no question in my mind I was going to win two door prizes tonight. We had two wrist bands and I was 100% confident we would win two prizes. When we won the first prize (a GoPro Hero 3), and we were elated to win that, I had a feeling it wasn't over. The last prize of the night was a ipad mini. And it too would be mine. The last winning wristband of the night. Thank you so much Teague Custom Marine and DCB. You guys are the best!

    At this point Dave Hemmingston, the founder of Daves Custom Boats, thanked his employees, vendors, and family members for their service. And rightfully so. Though Dave was, and is the visionary of DCB, without the first class team he put together, DCB would probably be just another custom boat builder. It was very good to see Dave give his team thanks and praise. He is a first class gentlemen and a stand up guy. And its easy to see why his employees and vendors praise him.

    The night wrapped up with a few more cocktails, dancing, and I'm sure a little story telling. In the end it was another great DCB Regatta. And another great way to spend some time on the lake, doing what we love to do. Boat and enjoy our friends and family.

    Thank you Peggi Vincent for all your hard work. And the countless others who make this great annual event possible.

    Until next year...
    HB

    by Published on 09-24-2014 06:54 AM
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    Stop making excuses. If you haven't been to the boat drags this is your opportunity. Its close. There are plenty of ...
    by Published on 08-04-2014 08:55 AM  Number of Views: 1207 

    Another successful race for the books thanks to the good people at SCSC racing, ARP, all the staff, all the volunteers, the racers, and of course the fans.

    This years race, in my opinion, went off without a hitch. Glad to see Ross and his crew on top of things and doing everything possible to make sure this was a safe event for both the racers and race fans. This year a protective barrier was placed on the beach to keep spectators away from the beach and out of the water. Not only a great idea for safety but it also kept spectators out of the water and kept things moving.

    I don't have any attendance numbers for this year, but this Saturday seemed to be busier than Saturday of last years race. Sunday was definitely a little slower, no doubt the uncertainty of the weather played a part. We were just happy to see racing on Sunday when the weather was definitely not cooperating the night and morning prior to the race.

    Other than one fairly significant (as far as the boat is concerned) crash, no one was injured during this event. Great news and a testament to the skill of the drivers. While the competition was definitely fierce at times, it was fantastic to see everyone watching out for eachother. My hat is off to the drivers for keeping eachother safe during this race. And as always, for the incidents that did occur, the SCSC safety people and crews were Johnny on the spot. Thanks guys and gals for doing an amazing job.

    This year for me personally has been a challenge. For those who know what I am going through, I appreciate your patience and understanding. Many of you have offered your support and friendship and I truly appreciate that. I was extremely late for the drivers party Saturday. Honestly I was not going to attend. But Ross and a few others convinced me to at least show up. So just as the party was ending there I was lol. It was great to see so many friends and good people who I have not seen in quite awhile. Bittersweet about sums up Friday night for me.

    Moving along, the aroma of bacon and eggs permeated the air Saturday morning. Nothing smells better than bacon the morning prior to a boat race. About the only other smell that rivals it would be the smell of bacon mixed with Nitro. Heaven on earth if you ask me. Saturday was non stop racing action. Many of us begged for a break so we could grab a bite to eat or something cold to drink. I think everyone had their ducks in a row and the spectators got exactly what they paid for, non stop boat racing action. Saturday turned out to be a great day of racing.

    Saturday afternoon brought sprinkles and the weather definitely seemed sketchy. A successful day of racing Sunday seemed doubtful, especially when it rained most of the night Saturday and early Sunday morning. However, rumor has it Pat Eason put in a call to the boat racing gods and had them turn off the faucet Sunday morning just before the races were to start. Thank you Pat!

    Sunday started out with a few sprinkles and some clouds but definitely turned out to be another great day of racing. I have to give a shout out to the Australians and their 6 liter boats. Absolutely beautiful boats and amazing running boats. As a spectator, I hope these boats return as a class or a part of the future of circle boat racing in the West. They were a ton of fun to watch.

    For race results and more information on upcoming SCSC events, please check their website:
    http://www.scscracing.com/2014SprintNationalsPoster.jpg


    This year the HB camp was set up in vendor alley, a change from last year when we were parked with all the other RV's. The big blue eyesore seemed to draw a lot of attention, mission accomplished as far as that goes. Thank you Ross. It also worked out well for the photographer. Me. I was able to walk a few feet, take some pics and then hang out at our booth and chat with fans and friends. The common thread over the entire weekend was "great race", "glad we came out". Really good to hear that as the sport and boating in general really needs all the help and support it can get.

    If you are a fan of boat racing and were unable to attend, don't worry. A steady stream of boating racing is on the horizon, starting with Bayfair in San Diego next month.

    Hope to see you at the races,
    HB



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