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Happy Birthday, Reggie Fountain, Jr.

By pure happenstance, I helped Reggie Fountain, Jr., celebrate his 83rd birthday today. Allow me to explain.

On Monday, I met up with Brad and Katie DiMaggio of Scrapyard Media in North Carolina to capture footage for “In The Lead with Jeff Harris of Fountain Powerboats,” the first episode of the third season of the Speed On The Water documentary-style video series. We arrived in Raleigh-Durham International Airport in the late afternoon and then headed to Fountain Powerboats in Washington.

The verdict on Reggie Fountain, Jr., behind the wheel? Still got it—especially on his birthday. Photo by Charles Plueddeman copyright Boating magazine.

From shooting interviews for Harris’ episode that will air in June with Harris himself, Fountain and his oldest son, Wyatt, and Harris’ son, Michael, to catching a ride with Harris in a Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft he piloted for an unmatched view of the Pamlico River and surrounding North Carolina countryside, our plates were full yesterday. By sunset, we had even managed to do a little skeet-shooting with the father-and-son Harris duo.

For the record, I won’t be making a living shooting clay pigeons anytime soon.

But no one told me today was Reggie Fountain’s birthday.

The V-bottom that started it all for Fountain Powerboats has been updated.

Again by pure happenstance, Boating magazine editor Kevin Falvey and contributing writer Charles Plueddeman—a couple of my longtime friends and colleagues—arrived at Fountain headquarters today to chronicle the complete restoration of Fountain’s first V-bottom and test the new Donzi 39 ZRZ center console, which was built just down the road from the Fountain factory. They even caught a ride with Fountain himself in the vintage 10-meter Executioner model for an upcoming video piece.

At age 83 with two aftermarket knees, Fountain no longer “hops” in and out of boats the way he used to. But that doesn’t mean he can’t drive the hell out of one.

Renowned marine journalist Charles Pluddemann (right) enjoyed a ride with the legendary gentleman who started Fountain Powerboats. Photos by Matt Trulio copyright speedonthewater.com

“We told Reggie 40 mph was fast enough for the video,” said Plueddeman, who does not impress easily. “He took that boat up to 90 mph—trimmed perfectly.”

Just before noon, members of the Fountain team and their out-of-town guests met in the Fountain conference room to sing “Happy Birthday” to the company namesake and enjoy a bit of cake. Also celebrating a birthday in Washington today, in town for a video interview for the Harris segment, was Fred Ross, the owner of Fountain umbrella company Iconic Marine Group.

The DiMaggios and I had flights to catch out of Raleigh-Durham, so we said our goodbyes and left after the cake was cut.

In Washington, N.C., for a Scrapyard Media/Speed On The Water video shoot, Fred Ross—Fountain’s No. 1 fan—also celebrated his birthday today.

But what a memory to take home. Happy Birthday, Reggie Fountain, Jr. So honored, lucky and flat-out grateful to share it with you. And happy birthday Fred Ross.

Let’s do it again next year.

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