Had organizers Jeff Hoefling and Stephen Miles canceled last weekend’s third annual Kuttawa Cannonball Run on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, none of the 100-plus powerboat captains who registered for the Kentucky event would have blamed them. Hoefling and Miles had no trouble getting in their Friday lunch run, which included a healthy raft-off, to Prizer Point Marina and Resort, but high winds slammed the area that evening during the dock party at Kuttawa Harbor Marina and heavy rain greeted them the following morning.
With more than 100 boats registered, the third annual Kuttawa Cannonball Run attracted its largest fleet to date (click image to enlarge). Photos courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“We saw whitewater coming over the breakwater during the dock party on Friday night and we ran to get more fenders between the boats at the docks,” said Hoefling. “Mark Godsey’s 52-foot MTI catamaran was next to a Fountain that was moving around a lot whole more than his boat was so we had to get more fenders on it. But no one got hurt and no boats were damaged.”
Said the typically wisecracking Miles, the owner of Stephen Miles Design in Owensboro, Ky, in reference to Godsey’s MTI cat, “I risked life and limb to save a Visual Imagination paintjob.”
Check out the slideshow above to enjoy more images from last weekend’s Kuttawa Cannonball Run.
So bad was Saturday morning’s weather that Godsey, who is recovering from a broken foot and had just a two-man crew to help him with the his substantial canopied catamaran, opted to pull his boat from the water. But by 11:30 a.m.—an hour after the scheduled start time—the weather broke and the fleet departed for its lunch stop/turnaround point of Breakers Marina, some 64 miles from Kuttawa Harbor Marina.
“We got really, really lucky with the weather on Saturday,” said Hoefling, the owner of Lively Machine Company in Evansville, Ind.
But when it came to making Saturday’s run in his 42-foot Fountain V-bottom, Hoefling didn’t have much luck of his own. He recently repowered the boat with Mercury Racing 700 SCi engines but had not yet upgraded his drives, and one of his Bravo units broke during Friday’s fun run.
Like the event organizers and its record-setting number of participants, speedonthewater.com chief photographer Pete Boden had to battle the elements for much of the weekend. The helicopter he used as a photo platform on Friday stayed on the ground on Saturday, so Boden improvised and found a suitable vantage point.
“The helicopter canceled due to weather so I went to a bridge—only to find it was the wrong bridge,” he said, then laughed. “I scrambled to the right bridge and here comes this massive storm. The walk from the car to the bridge was a little more than a mile, so I know I’m not getting back to the car. The wind is whipping at 60-plus mph so I duck under the bridge. But I stayed dry, walked back out when it stopped raining and got some pics.”
“Pete Boden was a beast,” Miles said, then laughed. “He worked so hard to it get all the shots—he was a hero. I have nothing but respect for him.”
Miles tackled the event in his own custom-painted Cobalt 343 sportboat (click image to enlarge).
The event raised more than $30,000, which—after expenses are deducted—will go to Riley Children’s Hospital, Point Man Ministries and Puzzle Pieces.
“In three years, we’ve more than tripled the amount of money we raised for charity in our first year,” said Miles. “Our event is by no means perfect, but we’re working on making it better and better every year.”
Said pariticipant Justin Lucas, fresh from organizing the 11th annual Lake Cumberland Thunder Run—also in Kentucky—on the weekend before the Kuttawa event, “It was definitely worth our time. They had a great group of people and we all had a good time.”
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