Boat races back to stay at RFL, officials say


Just two weeks before they are set to take place, officials have announced that power boats races and other activities will return to Rocky Fork State Park this year.

Now called Rumble in the Hills, this year’s races will be held July 21-22 with the races starting around 9 or 10 a.m. each day. The race course will be in the same location around two islands on the lake’s east side where more than 25 world records have been set in past years.

There will also be a fireworks display on Saturday, July 21 at dark, a Budweiser beer garden both days, along with food carts and flea market vendors.

After being held for 25 out of 30 years, the races were canceled in 2015 and have not been held since.

“With the race having over a 20-year history at Rocky Fork Lake, most people familiar with the area remember them. Doc Yinger created and organized the races for two decades, doing an outstanding job with it and making it a success,” said Mike McGuire, the driving force behind the return of the races with his father, Joey McGuire. “We were able to make contact with the American Power Boat Association (APBA) and some of the racers within the last year, and discovered that there was interest in bringing the races back. Our goal was to make the race an annual event again for the community, and to build it up into more than just the activity on the water. We were able to do that, under time constraints, and are happy to announce that it’s back.”

The races and parking are free to spectators.

Mike McGuire said there will also be a VIP area with food for sponsors.

He said they are expecting more than 60 boats with six different competitive classes, plus a vintage class, that the competitive classes will reach speeds up to 160 mph, and that racers have already committed from all over the country including from Colorado, New Jersey, Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

“We have secured an ongoing weekend annually with Rocky Fork State Park, received sponsorships, and formed partnerships to make it happen,” Mike McGuire said. “We fully expect to grow the event for years to come, with more to offer than just the race, so it will be known as a great family function for all ages and have something to offer everyone. For instance, there will be fireworks Saturday at dark for those already in attendance or anyone that just wants to come and watch the show. There is a good chance also that there will be a helicopter on-site, and a cornhole tournament is in the works… We are asking that anyone with suggestions for the event contact us, as we are looking down the road for next year’s event already.”

Partnerships have been formed, according to McGuire, with Rocky Fork State Park; the APBA; WVNU to cover the races live; the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District for rescue, for emergency vehicles and to run the tractors in the pits; Moon Tractor/Five Points Implement Co. to provide tractors; Kehn Kranes to provide cranes; several veteran’s organizations; Box 21 Dive Team; AMVETS Post 61; Merchant’s Bank; McCarty and Associates; The Print Shop of Washington C.H. for programs; Jett’s PRO Embroidery of Greenfield for promotional items; and more.

He said numerous sponsors have contributed with the largest ones being Joey’s Pizza, R+L Carriers, Gibbs Insurance, Southern Hills Community Bank and Lykins Oil.

McGuire said that while he and his father organized the event, it could not have happened without the support of everyone that contributed.

“We have been very warmly received from everyone we’ve spoken with and formed great relationships that will last for many years to come,” McGuire said.

He said that special thanks goes to all that were at a Saturday event announcing the return of the races, and members of the Rocky Fork Lake community who have offered to volunteer for the event.

“It was always a good tradition, something I remember watching as a kid,” McGuire said. “It’s great for the community, everybody loves it, and it’s going to be awesome. It really is. For next year we’re thinking outside the box. It’s going to be a lot bigger. For people and families not even interested in the races, there will be all kinds of things to do.”

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or [email protected].

Organizers for Rumble in the Hills set for July 21-22 at Rocky Fork State Park include (front row, l-r) Keith Fickert, Joey McGuire, Mike McGuire and Ron Snyder; (back row, l-r) Chris Sexton, Greg Kneitzer, Kevin Kneitzer and Michael Glern. for Rumble in the Hills set for July 21-22 at Rocky Fork State Park include (front row, l-r) Keith Fickert, Joey McGuire, Mike McGuire and Ron Snyder; (back row, l-r) Chris Sexton, Greg Kneitzer, Kevin Kneitzer and Michael Glern.
Rumble in the Hills set for July 21-22

By Jeff Gilliland

[email protected]

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