team a family affair
(June 2006) Each year, the Madison Regatta
draws hundreds of families to the banks of the Ohio River to enjoy Fourth
of July festivities and hydroplane boat racing.
Liter Stock Boat Entries
S-2 Superior Miss, Dennis Wright, Mount Vernon, Ind.
S-5 Startrooper, Myron Jackson, Vevay, Ind.
S-17 Bad Habit, Keith Anderson, Hobart, Ind.
S-31 Team Denial, Paige Taff, Knox, Ind.
S-52 Roostertails.net, Sean Bowsher, Decatur, Ill.
S-69 Body by Peddie, Alan Hamand, Knox, Ind.
S-77 Oh Brother, John Carlton, Jesse Carlton, Josh Carlton,
S-93 Hot Shot, Tom Bergman
S-96 Mane Attractions presents W.D. Racing, Wayne Dunlap, Madison,
The Inboard 2.5 Liter Stock Class races will take
place Saturday with the final on Sunday.
But one family that has been to the Madison Regatta for
nearly a decade is not merely spectators. Dennis and Sean Bowsher, a
father-son team from Kankakee, Ill., will be racing their 2.5 stock
class S-52 Roostertails.net boat July 1-2 against eight
other teams at the Madison Regatta.
Dennis Bowsher, 50, said he has loved boat racing since he was 5. In
his little town along the Kankakee River, there used to be an annual
inboard boat race. He would sneak down to the river, get a pit pass
and offer to help shine up the boats or do odd jobs for the pit crews
just to be around the boats. From that point on, he was hooked on boat
As he grew older, his love for boats and racing continued. Dennis, a
public works employee of Kankakee for almost 31 years, raised his family
in a house on the river and always had some sort of boating activities
going on. He called himself a real river rat.
He said when his son, Sean, was young, they owned a pontoon boat and
often cruised the Kankakee River.
consists of (from left) Dennis,
Sean and Scott Bowsher.
Dennis said that when Sean was old enough, they would
travel to many races and were just fascinated by the whole racing atmosphere
and environment. For years they have enjoyed being just spectators.
But that changed when Sean bought a 2.5 stock hydroplane and began racing.
Dennis became Seans crew chief.
While Sean drives, Dennis makes sure that everything is in perfect running
order. His jobs include hooking the boat up to the crane to move it,
making sure the plugs are in, and performing some minor engine work.
He said the duo has worked out a list of things they go through before
race time, and so far, it is working great.
During the race, Dennis is usually on the radio giving Sean directions.
Doing what I do helps me feel like a real part of the whole scene,
I am so proud of my son. It is really great to have such a good
relationship with him. Racing has kept us together, and were friends.
He also said his lifelong dream is to actually drive one of the boats,
but he just hasnt worked up to that point yet.
As for Sean, 31, he said he has always been hooked on boat racing. He
remembers watching the boats race as a kid, and he knew he wanted to
drive one. Sean, who works as a police officer in Decatur, Ill., has
been racing for three years.
He bought his boat used because it was less expensive than buying one
new. This class of racing is in fact designed to help keep the costs
down. He thought of the name Roostertails because he said,
Every boat has one sticking out the back.
When preparing for a race, Sean said it could take between 20-30 hours
of work to practice and get everything ready to go. The father-son team
travel to about 10 races a year, mainly on the East Coast Inboard Racing
Sean competes in two different classes, the S class and the Y class,
using the same boat. He explained that both classes use the same size
motor. So far this year, he ran second at Thunder on the Niagara River
in Tonawanda, N.Y., but didnt fare quite as well at a New Jersey
competition. Dennis believes Sean will end the year with a good ranking.
While there are some cash prizes and trophies to be garnered for the
type of hydroplane racing that Sean competes in, the money is nothing
like that of the bigger unlimited hydroplane racing. I do this
because I simply love it, Sean said.
In his spare time, Sean loves to work with computers. As a matter of
fact, Sean designed and put together the Roostertails News website,
which gives racing results for the 2.5 classes, point standings, news
and information and a cache of hydroplane photography. Dennis supplies
much of the photos, while Sean does all of the technical work.
Both men are looking forward to coming to Madison. Sean said, When
the entire town gets into the Regatta, it makes the experience great.
Dennis said, Madison feels just like home because the people there
treat us like they know us.
For more on this team visit: www.roostertails.net.
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