The fastest Jet Ski racers in the Pacific Northwest will hit Devils Lake for the first-ever Devils Lake Dash presented by Chinook Winds Casino and Resort.
“Chinook Winds is proud to be a partner in this inaugural event in Lincoln City,” Marketing Director Eric Smileuske said. “This is a fun-filled, community-based event and is a tremendous opportunity to introduce visitors to what Lincoln City has to offer.”
Even though the event about three months away ~ it’s scheduled for May 18-19 — dozens of the best personal watercraft racers and freestyle riders in the Pacific Northwest have already indicated they’ll be kicking off their seasons in Lincoln City.
“Several World Finals competitors have already committed to racing,” promoter Rogel’ Harnack of Riverside, Wash., said. “Look for pro rider Aaron Newport from the Tri-Cities to clean up in his class. And Oregon’s own Alisha Goering should be a stand-out in the women’s division.” Both have finished in the Top 5 in the world at different points in their careers. Both are also familiar with the Oregon Coast, having also raced in the pounding surf at Pacific City.
But the Devils Lake Dash will have more than just fast-paced racing action. Freestylers are expected to put on aerial show featuring flat-water backflips, barrel rolls and more. Matt Engels of Richland, Wash., is one of the favorites to win the freestyle competition. But watch for 16- year-old sensation Owen Kuipers of Kelowna, B.C. to put on a heck of a show as well.
Both landed backflips during competitions last year. Sedro Woolley, Wash., native Wayne Hilsinger is also expected to compete – he landed his first backflip two years ago during the Lake Chelan Jet Fest in Chelan, Wash. Chad Gosney of Olympia, Wash., may also join the competition- he’s famous for barrel rolls at Pacific Northwest competitions.
The inaugural event will include a number of classes, including vintage, stock, limited and open ski; stock and open runabout and even X-2s.
Age, gender and skill-level divisions will include juniors (younger than 17), men and women and novice, expert and professional. For Jet Ski enthusiasts who want to learn the sport, there will also be a beginner class.
“Dust off your old ski and join us for some friendly competition and a great weekend on the water,” Harnack said, encouraging enthusiasts to come out and run what they bring.
Life vests, helmets and tethered kill-switches are required, as is joining the International Jet Sports Boating Association. The invitation extends to young and old alike. But don’t expect youngsters on the startline to be a push-over. In the junior class” watch for l2-year-old Nathan Clements of Marysville, Wash., to lead the way. He’s the reining 2011 and 2012 junior champion.
His mother, Angela Clements, is the defending 2012 women’s runabout champion. She’s planning to be on the start line as is her rival (and friend off the water) Jen Effrig of East Wenatchee, Wash. Effrig was the women’s runabout champion in 2011.
“This is shaping up to be the best season-opener we’ve ever had,” Harnack said. “That’s due to the support we’ve received from Chinook Winds and the community as a whole.”
In addition to Chinook Winds, sponsors include Blowsion, Hydroturf, The Historic Anchor Inn, Lincoln City, the Lincoln City Chamber of Commerce, the Inn at Wecoma, Devils Lake Water Improvement District, the Lincoln City Visitor and Convention Bureau, and Comfort Inn and Suites.