Being that the New Year is approaching and that Matt Trulio and I just covered our top stories of 2017 earlier this week (check out Part I and Part II), I figured now would be as good a time as any to reflect on the past 365 days and highlight a few of the things I’m thankful for following a year of ups and downs.
First off, I’m thankful for the time spent with a few of the notable people our industry has lost as of late. Given the death of New York performance boater Joe Sgro—the offshore racer and Outerlimits principal and longtime customer I’ve interviewed and reported on for many years—following an accident in the Florida Keys last month, there’s no doubt it’s been a tough year.
Two people I considered friends are no longer with us, Xtreme Powerboats founder Larry Goldman and CK Motorsports founder Keith Holmes. Nor are offshore racers Kyler Talbot and David Raabe. And I’ll never forget Nick Barron, especially the early mornings spent with the Hallett Boats founder on the launch ramp before a Powerboat magazine test at the Bluewater Resort & Casino in Parker, Ariz. Rest in peace to all.
Sorry to start with a downer, but don’t worry the rest is about as positive as it gets.
The most obvious thing I’m thankful for is the incredible amount of donating that happened this year from coast to coast. The Lake Powell Challenge went wild and raised $500,000 for JDRF and several other events, including the Boyne Thunder Poker Run, the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run, the Pirates of Lanier Family Poker Run, the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout and the Emerald Coast Poker Run, raised between $100,000 and $300,000 for charity.
While our OffshoreOnly/Speedonthewater Key West Bash didn’t raise tens of thousands of dollars like Powerboating for a Cure, Support the Troops, Texas Outlaw Challenge, Big Cat, Rock the Docks and many events where like-minded generous boaters came together for a fun time, we did manage to round up more than $10,000 in less than three hours for Samuel’s House, a local non-profit organization that provides housing and supportive services to the homeless in their time of need while assisting them in becoming self-sufficient.
I’m also thankful for all of the cool product I get to cover on a daily basis. Between Mike Stevenson’s DCB M44 Widebody that is featured on the cover of the latest Speed On The Water digital magazine (download it here) and Johnny O’Loughlin’s matching MTIs that I got to see firsthand in Key West (read the story) to Mercury Racing’s new 860- and 1,750-hp QC4v engines unveiled at the Miami International Boat Show (read the story) and Adrenaline Powerboats jaw-dropping ZRX 47 set to hit the water by the end of the year (read the story), there has been so much extraordinary stuff to write about.
Finally, I’m most thankful for the friendships that I’ve developed throughout this community. Whether it’s a reader reaching out to order copies of the new Speed On The Water 2017 Year In Review coming out in January (order yours today), a racer filling me in on his plans for the 2018 season or a former colleague who now runs a boat company sending me his annual “can you spot the fake turkey” Thanksgiving email, it’s the relationships that keep my “job” fun, interesting and rewarding.
Happy New Year to you all.
Former Powerboat editor Jason Johnson was an integral part of the magazine staff from 2005 through 2011, utilizing journalistic integrity and experience in and around performance boats to report on all aspects of the go-fast lifestyle. The award-winning writer resides in Southern California and is the executive editor and co-publisher of speedonthewater.com.