Whetstone remembered at Constantine Great Lakes Challenge event
The Michigan Hydroplane Racing Association (MHRA) held the first event in its 2019 Top Gun Series, the Joe Whetstone Memorial Regatta a.k.a. The Great Lakes Challenge, Friday and Saturday at American Legion Post 223 in Constantine.
Attendance at the event was down, due to a rainy weekend. The racecourse was shut down at one point for half an hour on Saturday, due to heavy rain, but a track spokesman said that all races that were scheduled for the weekend were completed.
The Regatta was named after Whetstone following his death in 2013. He was a member of Post 223 for 57 years and served in the Air Force from 1951-1955. Joe and his wife Carol were owners of the Dam Site Bait Shop in Constantine and he instituted the popular “Big Buck Contest” in 1984. The big prize was a free shoulder mount from Wallhanger’s Trophy Taxidermy. Whetstone was also involved in the local Boy Scouts, Constantine Little League and other programs.
After the Regatta was named for Whetstone, Mark Wheeler, president of the American Power Boat Association said that he was glad Whetstone was honored.
“Our club has worked with Joe since 1990. He was easy to work with. He was proud to be involved with the youth, the legion and all local organizations. He was just a wonderful man, a true patriot,” Wheeler said.
A MHRA Racer School was held at the legion on Friday.
Designed for the newcomer to outboard racing, the school teaches the fundamentals of outboard racing, including basic regatta format and safety rules. Veteran MHRA members conduct classes on starting techniques, racing strategy, fundamentals of planning, and more. The class is followed by time on the water. Eight people attended the school.