Your go-to source for performance boating.
HomeEvent CoverageOld School Raceboat Reunion—Top Marks And A Bright Future

Old School Raceboat Reunion—Top Marks And A Bright Future

The owner of American Custom Marine, a full-service Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats dealer based in Kimball, Mich., Michael Knoblock had something rare on his hands this weekend—free time. Knoblock is happiest when he’s on the water, so he called Brad and Katie DiMaggio of Scrapyard Media and a few other friends and headed to yesterday’s Old School Raceboat Reunion based out of Miller Marina in St. Clair Shores, Mich., in a new Nor-Tech 400SS center console powered by four Mercury Racing 500R outboard engines.

The owner of Miller Marina, Chip Miller plans to expand the Old School Raceboat Reunion next year. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Though the final count is not in, the event attracted 40 to 50 vintage raceboats and pleasure boats dating back to the late 1970s.

“I have been to this event a few times over the years, and I think they had more people than ever this year,” Knoblock said. “We had a good ride down in the boat, and Dave Burgess (Knoblock’s next door neighbor) took his Cigarette 41 Nighthawk and did the run with us. We ended up with like 15 people in our group.”

Miller Marina owner Chip Miller started the event 10-plus years ago. His friend Mark Olewin, who is 69 years old and has been battling cancer, inspired him to help get it going out of his facility.

previous arrow
previous arrow
next arrow
next arrow

If you’re looking for a display of immaculate vintage race and pleasure boats, the Old School Raceboat Reunion is the place to be.

“Mark knows more about the history of offshore racing than anyone I know,” said Miller, who enjoyed the day in his 27-foot, 1981 model-year Magnum V-bottom repowered with a pair of fuel-injected, 475-hp small-block engines built by Frank McComas. “He actually found my father’s old raceboat in Canada.”

That was back in 2010. Convinced that the boat—a 28-foot Bertram—still existed, Olewin used Google Earth to find it. He focused on the St. Clair River and followed it all the way into Canada, where he would suspected the boat would be. He located it at an old marina boat yard and now the 28-footer is housed at Miller Marina. Eventually, Miller will restore it as he did with his vintage Magnum.

A Magnum fan since he was young, Olewin has Multiple Myeloma and currently is undergoing chemotherapy. In 2022, he had a stem-cell transplant. The procedure took him off the water that year, but likely extended his life—per his oncologist—five years.

Said Knoblock, “I have been to this event a few times over the years, and I think they had more people than ever this year.”

“I am going to be 70 next week, so I have been around a bit,” he said, then laughed. “I am trying to make the most of my time now. There’s no sense in complaining—it is what is. If you don’t have a good attitude about it, it just brings you down.

“We have a great cancer treatment center here, the Ford Center, and they treat me really well,” he added. “And who knows? They are making progress on new things every day.”

Local luminaries at yesterday’s event included Sunsation Powerboats co-owner Wayne Schaldenbrand, Lake of the Ozarks Shootout star Tyler Crockett of Crocket Marine Engines, former offshore racer Bill Grannis of OPA team fame and local go-fast powerboat collector/curator Ron Szolack, who took delivery of a new Cigarette Racing Team 42 Auroris center console at the 20th annual Boyne Thunder Poker Run earlier this month.

According to Miller, the event has reached the point where it needs to expand and become more structured.

“We want to make this event really big for my dear friend Mark, maybe add a fun run and a benefitting charity next year,” he explained.

“There is a restaurant we use, Hook’s, and the new chef is a local celebrity,” he continued. “They are taking their food and hospitality to a whole new level, and they want to help make next year’s event into something big. We want to do that for Mark.”

Brian Snyder had a full boat for yesterday’s event.

Related stories
Baja, Donzi And Fountain Fun Run Hits 100 In The Shade
Fourth Annual Outboard Fun Run Delights Performance Boat Center Family
Sum Of Its Parts—Inside The Joyful 1,000 Islands Charity Poker Run
Worth The Wait—Why Boyne Thunder Is Still On Top After 20 Years
Old School Raceboat Reunion Graces Lake St. Clair