WMO 2016 Year in Review
The second season of West Michigan Offshore is now behind us, and it’s been one full of great memories, great boats, and great causes. We all need something to get us through the winter, so here’s something you can reflect on from now until next spring.
WMO BY THE NUMBERS.....
Only in its 2nd season, WMO has donated nearly $20,000 to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
The club now has over 200 members, making it one of the largest offshore powerboat clubs in the country.
WMO has 40 sponsors. Without their support, the club would be a fraction of what it is today.
Member boats range in size from 16’ to 52’, and nearly every type of offshore boat (and even several others) are on the roster: 4 Winns, Active Thunder, Apache, Baja, Carver, Challenger, Checkmate, Cigarette, Cougar, Crownline, Cruisers, Donzi, Formula, Fountain, Harley, Hustler, Mach 1, Mastercraft, Nordic, Nortech, Outerlimits, Powerplay, Powerquest, Saber, Scarab, Schiada, Sea Ray, Skater, Sonic, Sunsation, Sunseeker, Velocity, Wellcraft, and several others.
WMO has 5 board members leading the club, one administrative assistant, and many volunteers. Board members are Chris Dekker (President), Jeff Tibbe (Vice President and Membership), Kevin Alferink (CFO), Derek Powers (Marketing), and Roger Zuidema (Business Manager). Meg Tibbe assists as the Executive Administrator.
WMO at the Boat Show, February 17-21
Bill & Monica Reiffer generously offered their 43’ Checkmate Punisher ‘Chasing Liberty’, and it made for an unforgettable display. WMO had the most popular display (by far), and attracted thousands of awe-struck onlookers. Best of all, we brought in more than 40 new members during the show, helped in part through coverage on the HUGE Show and Monica's interview with Tony Gates from WLAV FM.
Business Meeting & Kickoff Party, April 21
Boatwerks Restaurant hosted the second annual Business Meeting and Kickoff Party. With over 100 in attendance, the highpoint of the evening was the donation of over $6,000 to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The club’s funds covered half of this gift, and WMO members stepped up to provide the other half. Best of all, a couple of Wish kids shared their testimony with the group. The party was full of good food, good drinks, good music, and lots of OSO-style boating lies!
WMO Charity Golf Outing, May 15
The second charitable event of the year occurred at Crestview Golf Course, where despite near-freezing wind chills and rain, WMO members and friends had a great time playing a round to raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Because of a special doubling program offered by MAW, the event was able to raise more than $13,000! Brooks Kingma, an incredible Wish kid and powerboat lover, shared the impact MAW has had on his life, as did WMO members and sponsors Dave & Trisha Shaeffer about their son, Isaac.
June Fun Run, June 4
The on-the-water portion of the year kicked off in early June despite less-than-ideal weather conditions. Approximately 20 boats made the trip from Grand Haven to Muskegon for a delicious lunch at WMO Sponsor The LakeHouse.
Muskegon Powerboat Weekend, June 17 & 18
One of WMO’s biggest events of the season did not disappoint. More than 80 boats registered for the club’s FIRST EVER poker run, and the weather could not have been better. WMO teamed up with the Taste of Muskegon to present West Michigan’s first-ever offshore street party. A beer tent, live music, lots of great food, and nearly 20 powerboats were on display for thousands of onlookers, most of whom more-than-likely weren’t aware of WMO or offshore powerboating in general. Many members stuck around afterwards to hit downtown Muskegon’s bars, and many went back to the dock to hang out on the boats until late at night.
The main event – the Precision Power Poker Run – happened on Saturday morning. The mandatory captain’s meeting had a strong attendance, and safety and itinerary information was shared by club President, Chris Dekker. A huge fleet of boats ranging in size from 20 feet to 50 feet and in top speed from 50mph to 140mph begin the poker run in Muskegon Lake. The first stop was in White Lake, an area unknown to most club members and a crew was waiting at the Whitehall Landing marina to hand out the first card. The second stop was 22 miles south in the Grand Haven channel. Boats then made their way back to Muskegon Lake where several other card stops were available. Unforgettable raft-off and beach parties happened throughout the rest of the afternoon, and the Chase followed. The day concluded with the after-party and award ceremony at the Lakehouse Restaurant.
WMO ‘Rock the Coast’ Run, July 23
The club’s largest-attended event drew more than 90 registrations and tons of national attention. Beginning in Grand Haven, three big groups (red, yellow, green) divided by cruising speed departed for Saugatuck with Pete Boden and helicopter overhead. Plenty of impressive hardware was present, including Jon Rooks’ 52 Outerlimits with 1350s and M8 drives, Mike & Steve Bareman’s new Skater with big Sterling power, and many others. Still, the event had lots of other boats in the 20 to 30 foot range running alongside of the larger ones. The Coast Guard, who have been very supportive of the club, had a fountain checkpoint at Port Sheldon, and were a strong safety presence throughout the event. Once boats passed Port Sheldon and Holland and made it to the Saugatuck pier heads, they turned back north to head into Lake Macatawa. The scene in the channel was pretty incredible…..dozens of incredible powerboats, the smell of ridiculous amounts of premium fuel being consumed, and a helicopter hovering overhead definitely grabbed the attention of every single person hanging out at the beach that day. Boatwerks Restaurant did a fantastic job of hosting nearly 250 people for lunch and got us in and out without an issue. Afterwards, the majority of the boats headed up to Pigeon Lake for a raft off party that lasted until early evening. One of the highlights of the event was the great TV coverage the event received from Fox17 Anchor Doug Reardon. Doug interviewed Chris Dekker and Wish kid Brooks Kingma (who rode on Christopher Steven’s 38’ Formula at Rock the Coast), and a couple of news stories were aired on TV the next day. The story was great for the club in that it showed that, in addition to promoting powerboating in the area, we’re in it for a larger cause.
August Fun Run, August 28
Bad weather forced the WMO board to push the August Fun Run, originally scheduled for Saturday, August 27, to the following day, the 28th. Although only a portion of the event’s 40 registered boats were able to make the changed itinerary, great weather and a good time was had by all.
Fall Fun Run, September 17
Bad weather yet again played a role in the Fall Fun Run, but despite big seas, rain in the area, and cool temps, those in attendance had a good time. Originally planned as a run from Holland to South Haven, most boaters decided to make it an informal day of hanging out in the area, and several ended up at Boatwerks for lunch.