In yesterday’s column, my colleague Matt Trulio discussed the delight (and sometimes sadness) that comes from the enjoyable job we have reporting on the lively performance boat industry. He was spot-on, of course, with his analysis of the past year, which included several gut-wrenching stories that I had to report being that I was in town covering the Pirates of Lanier Poker Run and the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout where two unforgettable accidents occurred.
Losing two of the friendliest guys in the Shootout circuit—Jim Melley and Garth Tagge—in October capped off a tragic boating season. Photo courtesy Tristan Garvin
That “least enjoyable” part of this job happened far too many times this year as we had to report on the passing of several well-known members of the community, including the first somewhat shocking news of the year when one of the friendliest faces in offshore racing died at his home in Orlando, Fla. Kicking this off with the most negative news, here’s my take on the second half of the top 16 stories of 2016.
When Robert “J.R.” Noble, the owner of the STIHL Offshore Racing Team, died suddenly in early March, it turned out to the be one of several tragedies that hit the performance boat community hard this year. At least Noble’s death was not boating related unlike what followed throughout the summer. The loss of Art and Melissa McMahan, Anthony and Tammy Reece, Richie Prince and Bradley Dunphy, and Garth Tagge and Jim Melley to three different accidents in July, August and October, made the season extremely tough to swallow. On the positive side, hopefully those incidents got more people thinking and talking about the aspect of keeping safe on the water.
Read more: Stories of the Year, Part II
Stories of the Year, Part I
Top Stories of 2015, Part I
Top Stories of 2015, Part II
Top 10 Stories of 2014, Part I
Top 10 Stories of 2014, Part II
Top 10 Stories of 2013, Part I
Top 10 Stores of 2013, Part II
The Top 12 Stories of 2012, Part I
The Top 12 Stories of 2012, Part II