9/2/2014

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Thunder on The Snake turned LC Valley into Jet Boat Capitol of World

Thunder on The Snake turned LC Valley into Jet Boat Capitol of World
LEWISTON, ID - Racers from all over the globe competed in the two day competition "Thunder on the Snake" and teams were working on the final preparations for the 27-mile journey upriver.

Reporter Sophia Miraglio caught up with some of the racers as they prepare to tackle some of the toughest white water rapids in the Northwest.

The jet boat capitol of the world is hosting some of the most elite competitors in the business, as jet boat racers prepare to hit the water for 'Thunder on The Snake.'

"The last week and a half everyone has been down here testing and tuning and trying to get that last couple miles an hour," said competitor Ryan Rogers.

And for competitor Grady White, who's racing not only the oldest boat but also the only boat to be made in Lewiston said it's a family affair when it comes to getting out on the water.

"Mom wrenches, dad he's the head mechanic and then my aunt and uncle, they do everything else too!," said White.

The four leg race spans from Hells Gate State Park to Bear Bar, a journey of approximately 27 miles each way.

"Side by side up to Redbird so it gives the lower section of the river some excitement and then the upper part of the river gets tighter more rocks and more rapids," said Rogers.

"The main dangers are hitting some portion of water or a rock wrong and getting launched on to the bank on to rocks," said Rude Awakening navigator Mike Swim.

And those dangers greatly increase, as speeds of up to 140 miles per hour can be expected as both driver and navigator go head to head with white water rapids.

"The navigator is responsible for watching all the gauges in the boat, we pre-run the river several times prior to the race to try and learn it," said Swim. "And my job is to point lines on the river where were suppose to run."

"The most difficult part is probably from Heller Bar to Bear Bar, that five mile section because you encounter just so many rapids and rocks," said Rogers.

Difficult yes...however the adrenaline rush is worth all the risk.

"It's unimaginably insane how the adrenaline is all the time in these races," said White.

The combined times of all four legs will dictate not only the class winners but also the overall champion.

The boats took off from Hell's Gate State Park at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday.
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