Roaring thunder: Jet boats take to the river
It was another festive and wildly successful event that brought the community together at the Whitecourt Carlan Cup Jet Boat Race that was hosted by the Whitecourt Riverboat Association.
This thunderous jet boat excitement began on Aug. 5 with a show and shine. Circuit races began on Aug. 6 and ended Aug. 7 in style with an awards ceremony. It’s not for the faint of heart; these boats are built for speeds reaching 130km/h. In a blink of an eye, they are gone, leaving churning waters and ringing ears in their wake. Twenty jet boats took part in a series of gut-wrenching races this year. Thirteen support boats were on hand to help if anything went wrong.
“It gives people the chance to come together,” said Karey Crawford, event co-ordinator. He added that it’s a tight knit community of boat enthusiasts coming together to have fun. He proudly stated that Whitecourt is a favourite destination for the Northern boat racing circuit.
This was Wayne Whatmore’s third year announcing for the Whitecourt jet boat races. “Listening to the piston type engines is my favourite part of the races…what more could you ask for?”
Jet boats have been a lifelong passion of Whitecourt local, and winner Randy Tinant. When I enquired about his favourite part of racing, his answer was that it was quaint and to the point-winning. He added that the support from his family is paramount to him as well.
This is Randy’s third year racing and second first place win overall. His boat, No. 222 “Anger Management,” had also taken first place in Peace River. He remarkably took third place in his class in an international world event last year. He plans to participate again in the Worlds event that will be held again in Canada in 2019.
As that saying goes, “There is no I in teamwork”, and teamwork comprises a pivotal part in jet boat racing. It was most apparent with the pride and camaraderie that filled the air that this is a group, a community that cares and supports each others success.
“We got overwhelming positive feedback from the racers and families” said Whitecourt Riverboat Association President, Troy Hittel. He added that the boating facility is considered “world class” and this year was very successful despite not having as many racers compete.
It was an adrenaline, jet-fuelled, awe-inspiring experience filled with anticipation and excitement that brought the community and families together. Next year's jet boat races are sure to provide more thrills and chills in a jovial manner for many years to come.