Rumble in the Hills


Boat races back with lots more at Rocky Fork Lake

By Jeff Gilliland - jgilliland@timesgazette.com



Boats throw up large “roosters tails” of water during past races on Rocky Fork Lake.

Boats throw up large “roosters tails” of water during past races on Rocky Fork Lake.


Times-Gazette file photo

After power boat races returned to Rocky Fork Lake a year ago for the first time in four years, event coordinator Mike McGuire said people should hold onto their hats because he was planning a lot of new attractions for this year.

McGuire said Tuesday that the 2nd annual Rumble in the Hills will be held July 20-21 at Rocky Fork State Park with a kick off party on Friday, July 19. While some details are still in the works, McGuire said some of the new things are likely to include: helicopters rides, fireworks, live music, a Kids Zone, a flyover, a pair of car shows, a monster truck display, more food and other vendors, a VIP area for sponsors, and less time between races.

“The cool thing is the community is really coming together. We’re gonna have a lot of fun with this,” McGuire said.

Racing will take place from about 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 20 and Sunday, July 21, but the weekend will get underway Friday, July 19 with the kick off party that will include live music and a beer area. McGuire said the Friday night events will run from about 6 p.m. until dark.

Things will roar back to life Saturday morning with opening ceremonies that will include some type of flyover, a presentation by the Highland County Veterans Honor Guard, and an appearance by a local congressman, according to McGuire.

On Saturday night there will be a party from 6 p.m. until dark with fireworks and a beer truck, and McGuire said that after Sunday’s races, if people still want to stick around, they will keep the beer flowing and some kind of entertainment going.

Both days there will be a Kids Zone with a magician, someone painting faces and a “slime table.” McGuire said it will also have an imitation fire with someone playing and singing campfire songs with the kids.

There will be a break in racing both days from about noon to 1 p.m. so the working volunteers can have lunch, but McGuire said he plans to fill that time with entertainment, too.

“We’d like to do some things like crowd giveaways, raffles and things like that, kind of give it a minor league baseball game feel where they have a lot of fun and entertain the crowd,” McGuire said. “We’re still tossing around a lot of ideas.”

While he’s not definite, McGuire said he believes there will be helicopter rides available Saturday and Sunday, along with a monster truck on display that people will be able to take rides in the back of. He said there will be a cruise-in on Saturday and that on Sunday he’s expecting the 16th Kroger Classic Car Show, an annual fundraiser for the Highland County Firefighters Association that most recently was held in the Hobart parking lot in Hillsboro, to move to Rocky Fork.

The car shows will be held in the large parking lot off Lucas Lane on the lake’s east end, and most things will take place in the area between there and the East Shore boat launch area.

McGuire said he plans to have around 10 food vendors, with six or so in the main spectator area and another three or four in the car show area. He said he also plans to have more vendors selling flea market type items.

He said there will be a VIP area at the Overlook Retreat Banquet Center in the East Shore area where food and soft drinks will be available for sponsors, who can watch the races from the center’s deck that overlooks the race course.

Unlike at past races, McGuire said pleasure boats will allowed to enter and exit the docks in the East Shore area between races.

About 50 boats raced in seven classes a year ago, McGuire said, and he expects close to twice that many this year. He said there will be a third crane this year to lift boats in and out of the water and cut down on the time between races.

Power boat races returned to Rocky Fork Lake last year for the first time since 2014. Races had been held 25 of the 30 years before that at the lake, with more than 25 world records set.

The races are contested around two islands on the lake’s east side that break up the wake left by the boats and allows them to run faster than otherwise might be possible.

McGuire is looking for more vendors, volunteers, racers and sponsors. Anyone interested can contact him at 614-256-6836 or mikeosu@yahoo.com.

“The more stuff the better,” McGuire said. “We kind of aspire to one day be like the Fall Festival of Leaves in Bainbridge. We’re kicking around all kinds of ideas.”

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.

Boats throw up large “roosters tails” of water during past races on Rocky Fork Lake.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2019/02/web1_Thunder-pic-to-use.jpgBoats throw up large “roosters tails” of water during past races on Rocky Fork Lake. Times-Gazette file photo
Boat races back with lots more at Rocky Fork Lake

By Jeff Gilliland

jgilliland@timesgazette.com