Patrick Kane has a need for speed - and he's found his outlet as a hydroplane racer.
"I like the feel of going fast," Kane said. "I've hit 55 in a race. That was probably my best day."
This weekend, Kane, as well as other racers from Grove: Alivia Lakin, Braxton Miller and Rick Miller, will take to the waters of Wolf Creek Park for the Fifth Annual Thunder on Wolf Creek.
The event kicks off on Friday, Aug. 18, with test runs. Racing gets underway around 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, and at noon on Sunday, all at Wolf Creek Park.
Organized by Dr. Leonard Miller, the races are expected to draw more than 70 boats, with drivers arriving from across the nation.
Officials with the Oklahoma Boat Racing Association estimate the race will feature dozens of boats in 24 heats running an oval course at speeds up to 90 miles per hour.
The event is slated to include at least 50 racing teams and draw around 3,000 spectators.
How it began
A chance conversation, between Miller and Kane's parents - Sylvie and David Kane - at a football game kicked off Kane's career with hydroplane racing.
Miller approached Kane's parents, because he thought the young man exhibited natural qualities which would make him a good racer.
Miller said Kane is a "natural" at the sport - because it mixes knowledge about motors, with athletic abilities.
Miller - who is the crew chief for What's Up Doc Racing in Grove - got Kane in touch with Charlie Holman, a fellow racer.
Holman helped Kane get his first boat, becoming his initial sponsor.
"He helped make it easy for us to start," Kane said.
Since May, right as he turned 12, Kane has successfully competed in several races under the moniker "Hurrikane Racing."
His parents serve as his crew, and the Miller family are his mentors.
In his first race, at Clarksville, Arkansas, he placed first in both novice heats on the second day of racing.
As a newcomer to the sport, Kane is one of the youngest drivers in the novice division. All novices race with a restrictor plate on their engines, which keeps the boats from exceeding 50 miles per hour.
As of now, Kane is one of the leading racers in the novice class. He has the high point score nationally, going into this weekend's races at Wolf Creek Park.
If all goes well this season, drivers in the National Boat Racing Association may vote Kane to move into the A Class for next season. The change in class would allow his team to remove the restrictor plate.
"I've always been into mechanical sports," Kane said, adding he's learned about motors and such from working alongside his father - who owns the Afton Station Packard Museum in Afton.
His mother jokes Kane has always been a "gearhead," saying he knew as a preschooler his toy jeep had a "one wheel drive."
"I've always like the roar of an engine," Kane said.
Kane jokes that hydroplane racing, which takes place in an oval shaped track, is a bit like "driving around a roundabout, 80 miles per hour, in the pouring rain, sticking your head out the window with a helmet."
Another factor he likes about racing is how it gives him an outlet for his competitive nature.
Kane said racing takes a lot of concentration, because a miscalculation can cause a driver to jump the clock or miss hitting the starting gate at the right time.
"It's all about the start," he said, adding the sport is teaching him patience, as well as trust as he works with his team and other drivers.
"Everybody kind of helps everyone, because they are friends," Kane said.
Kane's goal for this season is to win the high point award, and be the national titleholder.
He would like to move to the A Class in 2018 - if his parents agree - and race a new boat purchased from the Millers. That boat could go as high as 75 miles per hour without a restrictor plate.
Sylvie Kane said her son has tried multiple sports, including soccer, basketball, fencing and football.
She admits watching her son drive in the races is a bit "terrifying" at times.
"I'm just as competitive as he is," she said. "So I know where he is coming from, but it's a mixture of feelings because I want him to do well, but he's going [very] fast."
A sixth grader at The Grove Country Day School Academy in Grove, Kane jokes he's mentioned to his friends about his new racing career with most listening in disbelief.
"When I say I race boats, they ask, if I mean remote control," Kane said. "I say nope, I'm driving."
If You Go
Thunder on Wolf Creek
The fifth annual Thunder on Wolf Creek, known as the "greatest show on the water," will take place Friday, Aug. 18 to Sunday, Aug. 20, at Wolf Creek Park, Grove.
The event will include three days of fun including 20 heats of hydroplane and runabout boat racing.
Hosted by the Oklahoma Boat Racing Association, the event is sanctioned by the National Boat Racing Association. More than 70 boats, representing teams from multiple states, are expected to participate.
Testing starts at noon, on Friday, Aug. 18. Racing takes place, following opening ceremonies at 12:30 p.m., on Saturday, Aug. 19, and noon, Sunday, Aug. 20.
Admission is free. Participants are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. For more information, persons interested may contact Leonard Miller 918-791-1733 or visit www.thunderonwolfcreek.com or www.facebook.com/ThunderOnWolfCreek.
Local business Trench Brother Graphics serve as Patrick Kane's primary sponsor.
Fellow racer, Charlie Holman served as Kane's first sponsor, helping him obtain his first boat to try out the sport.
Outside of racing, Patrick Kane is involved in the INFC - Indian Nation Football Club and fencing at the Grand Lake YMCA.
A member of the Starr 4-H Club, Kane also raises four miniature donkeys, 25 chickens and eight rabbits. He's unsure as of yet, if he will show any of his chickens and rabbits at next week's Delaware County Free Fair.
"I'll try to be at the fair if it works in my schedule, but racing comes first," Kane said with a grin.
Wolf Creek closure
Portions of the Wolf Creek arm of Grand Lake, as well as the Wolf Creek boat ramp, will be closed during the Fifth Annual Thunder on Wolf Creek, Friday to Sunday, Aug. 18 to 20.
However, homeowners will be allowed access to their private docks with proof of residency, according to information released Justin Alberty, vice president of communications, with the Grand River Dam Authority.
Alberty said all vessel operators are asked to watch for special event navigational buoys, and GRDA Police officers will be present during the event.