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Wild on the Water

Drag boat reunion set for Saturday

Marvin Savage is shown in his boat racing days. He is hosting a speed boat reunion on Saturday, May 6.
Marvin Savage is shown in his boat racing days. He is hosting a speed boat reunion on Saturday, May 6.
Special to The Community News

You can take the person out of the speed boat, but you can't take the speed boat out of the competitor.

Though he retired from competitive drag boat racing four decades ago, Marvin Savage still loves to be around them, to reminisce, and generally take in all he can without actually getting behind the wheel and going almost 200 mph.

Five years ago Savage started an annual race boat reunion at his farm in Weatherford. Speed boat enthusiasts from all over the United States come to partake in all things boat racing.

And yes, you are welcome also as the event is open to the public beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Marvin Savage Farm is located at 2100 Greenwood Rd. Admission is free.

"I was the only one in my family that wanted to go fast," Savage said with a smile. "Someone told me I couldn’t drive a race boat. So I built a boat and won the first race I entered."

Savage was clocked at 107 mph in that first race. Before retiring in 1983 he would win the National Drag Boat Association high points championship in 1978. In 1983 he was clocked at speeds of 163, 164, 167 and 167, retiring after that season.

In 2021 Savage was inducted into the Drag Boat Racing Hall of Fame.

Ironically, Savage, who grew up in Brock, did not like racing boats at first when his friend Elmer Youngblood asked him to participate following Savage's return from the military. Then came a challenge he couldn't ignore.

Savage not only proved the naysayers wrong, he did so in championship fashion.

Saturday's event will include a barbecue lunch with soft drinks and lots of conversation about boats and racing, Savage said. Featured visitors will include about five folks who have been inducted the Drag Boat Racing Hall of Fame and two more who will be inducted this October.

Also, there will be another racer from Weatherford, Mike McGraw, who has set some records in a top fuel jet boat.

Kevin Kinsley, who has reached more than 300 mph in a drag race car and 273 in a drag race boat, will also be on hand.

"This is from a standstill start to 1,000 feet," Savage said.

Mary Rife, the only woman ever to reach a speed of more than 200 mph in a drag race boat, will also be on hand.

Marvin Savage Farm should be familiar in equestrian circles. In 2016 he and a partner started an English riding competition that went international. Though he retired from that in 2016, he kept the farm for trainers and students.

This weekend, however, the horses have to understand the focus will be on boats.


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