While the COVID-19 pandemic has at least delayed powerboat races at Rocky Fork Lake, event organizers are far from giving up this year on what has come to be known as Rumble in the Hills.
Originally scheduled for July 18-19, event co-organizer Mike McGuire said he and his father, co-organizer Joey McGuire, are exploring the possibility of holding the races in late September or early October.
“We are working closely with Rocky Fork State Park, the Highland County Health Department, and others to try to have the event in 2020. With all that has happened this year, we would love to run the races and have a fun weekend for the community,” Mike said. “We are also working on developing some fundraising events that will bring more things to look forward to at the lake. So even if the races are not possible, there will be other exciting weekends at the lake.
“Last year the races had record attendance, with more to do for families than ever, and we definitely want to keep that momentum going in the future. Ultimately, despite any setbacks, we are optimistic and determined to keep this great event strong for the community.”
Mike said the Rumble in the Hills Facebook page will list any updates as organizers finalize details for the event.
Organizers are looking for anyone wanting to volunteer at or sponsor the races. They also ask that anyone with ideas and suggestions for the races send them a message through the Facebook page.
Mike said boat racers are anxious to get on the water because they haven’t been able to race much this year and because the course at Rocky Fork has produced more than 20 world records over the years.
“The racers have always loved Rocky Fork Lake. Because of the islands and the width of the lake, there is very little wake or waves for them to contend with, so they have been able to set many world records there,” Mike said. “They also have commented on how beautiful the area is and have expressed appreciation for the efforts the community has made the last couple years, saying that they felt welcome and were impressed with what we have built the event to for them and the spectators. From what we are hearing, we would have a record number of boats this year if we are allowed to do it. So to sum it up, we are all working together and positive about the future of Rumble in the Hills.”
In a related development, the Highland County Firefighters Association Car Show, which was set for July 19 at the lake, has also been postponed. However, if the races are rescheduled, the car show likely will be too.
Known for the last 16 years as the Kroger Klassic, the show has a new name — Joey’s Classic Car Show — after a deal was made with Joey McGuire, who owns Joey’s Pizza, to sponsor the show.
“We were approached a few years ago to move the show to the lake to coincide with Rumble in the Hills, and we thought this would be a great change and so did a lot of our faithful attendees,” said Scott Miller, the longtime organizer of the car show. “So in 2019, we gave it a shot, and the rain came and just about washed the show out, but we made it happen. We also felt we needed a name change, as Kroger was kind of phasing out the sponsorship. Joey McGuire said that he would like to take over the naming of the show, and we came up with Joey’s Classic Car Show.
“Also for 2020, I was approached by Family Farm and Home to come on board as a major sponsor. We were hoping to add more trophies this year, but with the COVID-19, we will have to see if we can even get this show to happen. We hope the COVID-19 gets under control and we get to reschedule for this year, but if not, we will try again next year.”
For more information on the boat races and car show, like Joey’s Classic Car Show, Rumble in the Hills, or the Highland County Ohio Firefighters Association on Facebook, or visit The Times-Gazette on Facebook or at timesgazette.com.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.