Thunder on Wolf Creek brought a front row seat to hydro boat racing on Grand Lake with speeds in excess of 100 mph.
Drivers representing 15 states with 65 boats attended the three day event Friday to Sunday, Aug. 18 to 20, with Grove hosting four of its own competing for prize money and overall standings.
Racers compete in groups as large as 12 and run two heats with three laps to earn points towards the season.
Racers also compete in a total of 10 to 12 races a year mainly taking place in the Midwest but travel does include states as far as North Carolina.
One of the strong local contenders was What’s Up Doc Racing led by Dr. Rick Miller, a local dentist for 28 years out of Grove.
Rick started racing at 14-year-old and has been competing for 35 years and had earned a total of 90 national championships.
For Rick racing is a family affair started by his grandfather in 1953 and picked up by his son Leonard, Rick’s father.
Also competing was his nephew Braxton Miller who is a fourth generation racer.
Braxton grew up in Grove and started at 10-years-old which is the youngest age allowed to compete.
After graduating high school in 2016, Braxton attends college studying to be an aircraft mechanic.
Braxton plans to continue racing during school and at the age of 20 has already won 42 National Championships.
Rick and Leonard are involved in organizing Thunder on Wolf Creek, which take up to six months to plan.
When asked about why he competes in the sport Rick said “it creates great family spirit and allows us to travel together and work together.”
Competing against the Millers is another family team with Cole Childress racing with his father for Hustler Racing out of Lebanon, Missouri for the past 18 years.
Cole races Hydroplane boats which water for lift rather than buoyancy and travel at high rates of speed.
Cole is also accompanied by his friend T.J. Synder who has 12 years under his belt.
Many of the racing teams are family team and have long traditions of racing such as Ray Hunley who’s father started in 1930 and leading Ray to pick up the sport in 1968.
With fast speeds and small boats Grand Lake offers unique sporting events and spectators can get a front row seat to high speed excitement.