The Sixth Annual Thunder on Wolf Creek starts on Friday, June 29 with racers traveling from across these United States to compete in the multi-day event.
Racing will take place from noon to 5 p.m., on both Saturday and Sunday, at Wolf Creek Park in Grove.
While official racing does not start until Saturday, racers will use the time on Friday to get their boats in the water for practice runs on the course.
Friday's events also offers a chance for students to get in the water and try their hand at driving a boat.
Officials with the race will be present to teach children about the steering and operation of the boats.
Children 12 and above will have a chance to drive specially designed novice boats.
Novice classes feature children and men and women of all ages who want a more relaxed race.
Getting started in the sport does not have to break the bank with many motors selling around or under the $2,000 mark.
Boats are made of high-quality plywood that prevents water from rotting the boat over time. Boaters wear flame retardant kevlar suits which are cut resistant for safety purposes.
This year local racer Patrick Kane, 13, will compete in the Novice race.
Patrick is the son of Davis and Sylvie Kane who are hosting a free dinner for all of this year’s racers at their Route 66, Packard’s museum in Afton on Friday evening.
Dr. Leonard Miller, a retired racer and father of local racer and dentist Rick Miller, is organizing the event.
Getting started in the field Miller was a dentist in the U.S. Army serving in the Vietnam war.
Miller came to grove in 1969 after selling his practice for a dollar, which he had to show legal transfer of the business to his partner.
He set up his first dental practice in Grove out of a trailer before building the iconic Grove Dental Associates original building.
“The building cost $24,000 but the roof leaked really bad,” said Miller. “I had built a Japanese garden out back, so I decided to put a Japanese roof on which cost $16,000.”
It was Millers love for the sport that got his son involved.
Rick Miller a graduate of Grove High School, started racing at the age of 14 and to date has won a total of 92 national championship races.
“That’s nearly double anyone else in the world, in part because of his good health,” said Miller.
Not only does his son race but, Braxton Miller, who also attended Grove High School and played football with the Ridgerunners, is the family's third-generation racer.
There are a number of different prizes given out this weekend ranging from the Hydroplane class to Runabouts and even a prize for the furthest traveled.
There are primarily two different types of boats featured in the race a Hydroplane or a Runabout.
Hydroplane craft can trap air which is forced under the boats hull and allows the boat to travel 5-7 MPH faster than a Runabout.
Runabouts tend to look more visually exciting as they “jump and flop around more than Hydroplanes,” said Miller.
“Our races are exciting because our job is to go as fast as possible and we have boats that go into the 90s," Miller said.
Spectators are encouraged to bring a chair and sit out by the water to watch the races.
Racers have three minutes to get onto the water before the start of each heat.
“The key to winning is to be at the clock at zero going the fastest speed possible,” said Miller.
There is a huge digital clock which can be seen by racers and spectators alike to allow for what is commonly referred to as a flying start.
While there are different classes such as the A, B, C or D stock classes which only specifies the size or modifications allowed to your motor, racers will be tuning their boats for acceleration.
The course is only sixth-tenths of a mile and because of the short straightaways and the fact that turning on water causes a racer to bleed speed the boats are designed to accelerate as fast as possible.
Some courses with longer tracks are designed for top speed verses acceleration.
For those interested in getting started in the sport Miller is on hand to answer questions. For more information, persons interested may call 918-791-1733.