The weather was perfect for a refreshing day out on the water as Whiting kicked off their 3rd annual AquaX Jet Ski Races at Whiting Lakefront Park on Saturday. The free event runs all weekend long on Lake Michigan.
“It showcases our lakefront and Lake Michigan,” said Mark Harbin, Director of Special Events for the City of Whiting. “It’s a great attraction, and it’s on the water.”
The family-friendly event saw young parents pushing strollers, bike riders taking a break from the beautiful bike paths, and even Mayor Joe Stahura with his wife and grandson enjoy the day as jet skiers raced across the lake.
Steve Tello, who moved to Whiting from Midlothian just a couple weeks ago, was visiting the park with his son, Trenton, when the event caught their eye.
“We were here to work out,” said Tello of his young football player. “He’s really serious about it and I support him however I can.”
But when the pair noticed the excitement on the water, they agreed to take a quick break to take in the action.
“It’s a cool town when you can show up for one thing and get another thing as a bonus,” Trenton said, carrying his helmet to take in the view.
16-year-old Sydney Czarcinski traveled with her family from Buffalo, New York, to participate in the CanAM Watercross Tour.
“My dad’s racing right now, and I’ll be racing later,” said the young rider. “My favorite part is the people because everyone’s so supportive of each other.”
The ProAm event is part of the Northeast Series that takes place on Lake Michigan, which will move to Chicago’s South Side for an event next weekend.
“This is a ProAm series, so professional and amateur riders ride together under amateur rules,” said Powerboat P1 Operations Manager Zack Rago. “It gives amateurs a chance to ride amongst the pros and pros back down to where they may have started and to test themselves against the limitations. It’s a lot of fun.”
The event pulls in riders from around the nation and Canada, and featured 16 racers in the first race. There will be two ProAm races Saturday and two more on Sunday, when they’d hold the awards ceremony. The ProAm races are 30 minutes long—plus an glory extra lap.
The exciting event saw a clear leader in the first race–the only rider sponsored by a major corporation–and the excitement grew as riders would either lose their skis or their lanyards, dashing their hopes and providing opportunities to the other riders.
“Our series is endurance-based,” said Rago. “It’s a real test of their athletic ability.”
The AquaX Jet Ski Races continue at Whiting Lakefront Park tomorrow. Although the event is free, there is metered parking, so consider biking in as many of the families did on Saturday.
For more information about the City of Whiting, please visit http://www.whitingindiana.com/.