The 1983 StillCrazy 30' Velocity is getting a new lease on life
There is a pretty lengthy backstory on how this is all coming about, but I'll try my best to make sense...
My uncle was Mike Poppa, who raced the StillCrazy Velocity back in the day and died in the 1985 Key West World Championship racing the 38 Cougar Cat StillCrazy. Mike had a one year old son when he died (also named Mike) who has been like a brother to me my whole life. After the accident, my family pretty much turned off the high performance boat faucet and have had nothing to do with it or racing since. However, Mike and I have always been totally fascinated by the boats and had a never-ending drive to somehow get back involved one day. We've been watching boats race and going to boat shows for as long as I can remember (I hadn't missed a Suncoast Offshore race in over 15 years until this year for a family reunion). You develop one heck of a desire to get on a fast boat by standing on the sidelines, watching for 20 plus years, yet we just could never seem to make it happen.
Another side-effect of going through a family tragedy and being separated from high performance boating and racing was that no one in the family really ever talked about it or told stories of what it was like in the past, how Mike's dad got involved in racing, or why he had such a passion for it. This resulted in a need for Mike, his sister Kelly and myself to find out more, talk to people that knew him or raced with or against him and get those stories. Back in 2005, Kelly stumbled across this unbelievable resource called OffshoreOnly.com and opened up a thread...
Mike Poppa - 1985
The response and information that members gave was truly amazing and really opened up the possibilities for finding out more. Later that year another member posted photos of the StillCrazy Velocity they found in a yard on the east coast. None of us could believe the boat still existed, let alone still had the StillCrazy paint job and all the original hardware. Although the boat was in rough shape, it instantly became a dream of ours to someday get it back and restore it to glory.
In 2007, Mike had graduated from College and moved down to Naples to live with me and my wife. We went to the 2008 Miami boat show in hopes of meeting Steve Stepp, who we found out built the StillCrazy Velocity and actually raced it with Dick Fullam and Mike's dad. While we had high hopes for the encounter, the actual experience surpassed it and more. When we walked up to the Velocity booth inside the convention center I immediately noticed the huge banner hanging above...with none other than the StillCrazy Velocity picture on it, the same picture that Mike and I had see over and over again going through boxes of old family records.
What followed was a two hour long conversation with Steve, his wife Kim and daughter Amanda that included laughs and tears, stories of victories and mishaps, and getting lost out on the race course! Surely it was an experience that I will never forget and one that Mike will treasure for the rest of his life. Later that year we were able to hook up again with Steve and Kim in Key West for the World Championships and finally accomplish what we had been waiting so long for...to get on a high performance boat. Steve took us out for a blast around Key West in his beautiful yellow 41 footer. With grins from ear to ear the whole time our faces literally hurt from smiling so much. The speed, power, sound, smell and adrenaline were intoxicating. We were hooked...line and sinker.
Fast Forward two years of ups, downs, hard work and we were still wanting more than ever to somehow get a boat. I was on the internet and decided to search StillCrazy, which I’d do regularly a couple times a year to see if any new info would show up. One of the first results was the OffshoreOnly thread where StillCrazy had been found. Kelly had mentioned some time back that StillCrazy had been sold and the new owner’s info was on the thread, but I hadn’t made time to look into it further. This time however, I wasn’t putting it off and knew that I was in a position that I could possibly get StillCrazy back. I immediately sent an email to Cadillac McDaniel and the wheels were turning. If you’re one of the 100 people in America that don’t know Cadillac, perhaps someday you’ll be lucky enough to come across him. He has an incredible personality, is a first-class story teller and is just an all around nice human being. We quickly set up a day that Mike and I could make the trip over to Cadillac’s place and touch the boat that Mike’s dad had raced in 26 years ago.
The drive over seemed to last forever because of the anticipation and the moment we pulled into Cadillac’s driveway and caught just a glimpse of StillCrazy was surreal to say the least.
Soon we were climbing all over the boat, the experience made more special by the fact that everything on the boat was still original…the throttles, the steering wheel, gauges, the bolster that once held Mike’s dad…another moment neither of us will ever forget.
Mike and I knew instantly that we had to get the boat. Cadillac could have told me he wanted my right leg for it and I would have tried to make it happen, lucky for me he’s such a good person and reasonable business man. I told him we’d take it and arrange a date to either have him deliver it, or pick it up. He couldn’t have been happier to find a buyer he knew would preserve the character and history of the boat and not chop it up to make a fishboat or cruiser.