‘Big surprises’ at boat races


Organizers say surprises are in the works this year, and quarterly funding events will start this fall to ensure that Rumble in the Hills, scheduled for July 19-21 at Rocky Fork State Park, remains a community event for years to come.

“We want to keep people guessing a little bit so they show up,” said Mike McGuire, who serves as co-event organizer with his father, Joey McGuire, the owner of Joey’s Pizza on SR 753 in the Rocky Fork area. “It’s going to be awesome.”

The McGuires announced earlier this year that they are organizing the event for the second straight year and want the public to know that they plan each year to make it bigger and better.

“First, we would like to stress the fact that the races themselves are very exciting. The boats, and their fearless drivers, exceed speeds well over 100 mph, and are truly racing NASCAR style on the water. The races are sanctioned by the American Powerboat Association (APBA), and we are happy to have them as a partner,” Mike McGuire said.

The weekend will start with the kickoff party from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 19. There will be live music, food vendors and a beer garden.

Things will rev back up at 9 a.m. Saturday with an opening ceremony featuring a U.S. congressman, the Highland County Veterans Honor Guard, and a military flyover. Racing will start by 11 a.m., once the judges have confirmed that all safety personnel are in place. Saturday will also feature food vendors, flea market vendors, a kid’s zone, beer garden, a classic car cruise-in, monster truck rides, and helicopter rides.

Once racing ends around 6 p.m., a Gap Party will fill the time between racing and fireworks at dark, with live music playing in the beer garden.

“It is strongly recommended that folks stay around for the fireworks, or at least come out for them if they can’t make it during the day, since they are truly amazing,” Joey McGuire said.

Things will fire back up at 9 a.m. Saturday with food vendors, flea market vendors, a kid’s zone, beer garden, the 16th Kroger Classic Car Show — moving to the lake for the first time, monster truck rides, and helicopter rides. Racing will again begin by 11 a.m. and run until 6 p.m.

“The beer garden and food vendors will stay around as long as needed, with music and cornhole going as well, so plan on staying until dark,” Joey McGuire said.

But the greatest story of the event, Mike McGuire said, is how the community is coming together.

“In addition to the Rumble in the Hills non-profit organization raising funds to bring this fun, family event to Rocky Fork Lake for a weekend, it has provided a vehicle for other non-profits and community organizations to fundraise and promote their causes locally as well,” he said. “Examples include the Highland County Veterans Service Commission, the Rocky Fork Alliance, the Rocky Fork Sailboat Club, the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District, Ironsides Social Riders, AmVets Post 61, and the number is growing. So, in essence, the community is benefiting on multiple levels through the efforts of many caring local individuals.”

He said an example of the strength of the Rocky Fork Lake community is Roger Mustard.

“He formed a team last year to run the tractors in the pit area, providing an essential function that made the races possible,” Mike McGuire said. “The pit area is a very dynamic place to be during the races since there are anywhere from 50 to 100 highly-tuned hydroplane boats on trailers that have to be skillfully driven to the launch area and hoisted into the water by heavy-duty craves, all in a short amount of time in what can be a stressful and dangerous environment. Roger has also helped this year with fundraising efforts and providing entertainment in the form of communicating with local bands to perform at the event. Without his help and dedication to the community, as well as many others who selflessly volunteered, this event would not have been a success last year or this year. But, because of the commitment of Roger and others like him, we have made this event something great for our community to enjoy and be proud of for years to come.”

Fundraising efforts have also started for this year. The McGuires said Southern Hills Community Bank has become the official bank of Rumble in the Hills and is promoting the event at its eight locations.

They said that starting this fall, quarterly fundraising events will be held at the lake to keep fundraising and awareness going year-round.

If anyone would like to sponsor the event as a business or as an individual, stop by Joey’s Pizza, call 937-365-1446, or visit the Rumble in the Hills Facebook page and send a message.

“We are also looking for volunteers to help out over the weekend in short shifts, doing things like delivering lunches to the folks putting on the race, and things like that. All volunteers will be fed, receive a T-shirt, and be greatly appreciated,” Joey McGuire said.

New partnerships have also been formed. The Ohio State Lottery, GoDaddy and The Ohio State University will be part of the event, the McGuires said, adding that more partnerships are in the works.

There will be a break in racing both Saturday and Sunday from about noon to 1 p.m. so the volunteers can have lunch. But, the McGuires said, everyone is encouraged to stick around because they have special things planned during the pauses.

“Thank you to all the members of the Rocky Fork Lake community, and we are very excited about this year’s event,” Mike McGuire said. “Please contact us if you have any ideas regarding the event, or would like to get involved. We ask that anyone reading this plans on stopping by that weekend, having fun, and supporting our local community. Lastly, please follow these press releases and the Rumble in the Hills Facebook page as we announce new developments, and remember that we have a few surprises that you will only see in person that weekend.”

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.

Hydroplane boat races scenes like this one will play out again July 20-21 at Rumble in the Hills.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2019/04/web1_Thunder-pic-to-use.jpgHydroplane boat races scenes like this one will play out again July 20-21 at Rumble in the Hills. Times-Gazette file photo
Bigger, better Rumble in the Hills set for July 19-21

By Jeff Gilliland

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