As we enter the final week of a year no one will ever forget, Matt Trulio and I decided to do our part to help end 2020 on a positive note. Don’t get us wrong, there were plenty of positives all year long, especially in the performance boat industry, but we feel like now more than ever we need to finish strong and upbeat.
Steve Grier and Jayne Willemse had a great time at the Exotic Run in Traverse City, Mich., in mid-August in Grier’s B&H Water Rod 300. Photo by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
As we do annually, Trulio and I have been brainstorming our Top Stories of The Year columns that we’ll publish on December 30 and 31, and we’ve come up with plenty of positive options. There are also several not-so-positive stories as we lost a lot in 2020, including legends such as Howard Arneson, John Carbonnell and Bobby Moore, not to mention a hefty schedule of races and events across the country too long to list.
And that’s why we want to provide at least one positive story a day beginning with one of the most fun people we’ve met throughout our travels over the past decade reporting for speedonthewater.com. His name is Steve Grier. You likely know him because the life-of-the-party fellow from Oklahoma goes to more events than anyone we know not named Lawrence Coelho, aka Rapid Rabbit.
Grier, as you may or may not know, owns a B&H Performance Boats Water Rod 300 with a single Mercury Racing 525EFI engine and he also sells B&H Performance Boats models in the Midwest through his side business, Liquid Marine Performance Boats. His “real” job is with FedEx, which fortunately affords him enough time to hit the water on the weekends and travel to different destinations to do so. Grier loves boating on Oklahoma lakes, but over the years his home away from home—Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri—turned into a second home when he purchased property at the popular lake in April 2018.
“I wish I would have bought a few places at the time—the market went nuts there, especially with COVID,” said Grier, who took advantage of a bunch of events at Lake of the Ozarks this summer. Despite having a few events on his calendar cancelled because of the pandemic—namely the Desert Storm Poker Run in Arizona, the Tickfaw 200 Poker Run in Louisiana and the Boyne Thunder Poker Run in July—Grier packed in another full schedule this year.
In fact, even though the West Coast’s largest event, Desert Storm, was cancelled (twice after it was postponed from April to October), Grier still spent almost three weeks in Lake Havasu City in April. He also ended up at the Boyne Rumble—the unofficial Boyne City, Mich., event that took the place of the cancelled poker run—and spent 10 days exploring several scenic lakes in the northern part of the state.
Here’s a more detailed look at what Grier and his girlfriend, Jayne Willemse, were able to accomplish this year. In May, they attended the Performance Boat Center Spring Fun Run at Lake of the Ozarks and the wedding of friends Jarus and Courtney Henning (also on the lake at Lazy Gators), and in June they stayed at the lake for events three weekends in a row—the Trump Boat Parade, the Cigarette Owners Rendezvous and the Support Our Troops Poker Run. To celebrate the Fourth of July and more, the couple traveled to Michigan and visited Torch Lake, Traverse City, Mackinac Island, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. A couple of weeks later they attended the Whole Hawg Poker Run on Oklahoma’s Lake Eufaula at the end of July.
Check out the slideshow above featuring some images Grier took throughout the year.
From there, Grier, Willemse and whichever friends could join them, attended six events in six weeks. They went to the Chattanooga Fun Run in Tennessee, the Texoma Throw Down in Oklahoma, the Exotic Run in Traverse City, the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout (and its surrounding events) and a Labor Day run at the lake.
The season slowed down at that point, but Grier ran his boat in the Prenger Fall Fun Run at Lake of the Ozarks in mid-September and then managed to haul it back to Arizona to use on Lake Havasu over the Halloween weekend. He said the boat is in California at the B&H facility—just to make sure it’s in good shape since Grier has put more than 1,100 hours on the boat—and he’s debating whether he wants to go run the boat in a New Year’s run to Catalina Island.
For the fun of it, I put Grier on the spot and asked him a few questions, and this is what he had to say.
What is your favorite place to hang out at Lake of the Ozarks?
“I really like Backwater Jack’s. Great staff, good drinks and close to home. Not to mention they made it on TMZ and all the news networks, kicking off our 2020 season. There are big things to come next season, too, with the new amphitheater.”
What is the most unique place you’ve ever boated?
“One of the most unique, I would say is Torch Lake in Michigan. It’s just so beautiful up there.”
If someone asked you to recommend three 3 or 5 events to attend, what would they be?
“First would be the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, of course. Then Tickfaw, Boyne Thunder or another Michigan area run, the Key West Poker Run, Sheep Dogs at Beaver Lake and a Lake Havasu event, either Desert Storm or Monster Storm. I also love the Tennessee runs—there are so many good ones it’s hard to even narrow it down to five.”
Top 10 Stories Of 2019, Part I
Top 10 Stories Of 2019, Part II
Wozencraft 2020 World Tour: Nine Events In Nine Images
High Five: Boden’s Best From July
Inside SOTW Mag: Where Is The Rapid Rabbit Now?