Hundreds of Airboats Take Freedom Ride
Last updated 2/25/2019 at 11:55am
The largest group of airboat enthusiasts in the United States and perhaps the world gathered Saturday, Feb. 16 on Lake Kissimmee east of Lake Wales. Hundreds of airboaters started launching before dawn on that chilly morning, many from Guy Harvey's Outpost Camp Mack River Resort in Lake Wales and all heading to Miles Point on the south side of the lake close to the Kissimmee State Park.
At Miles Point, the Kissimmee River Valley Sportsman Association (KRVSA), led by their current President Brad Weihrauch, was set up under a large pavilion with raffle ticket sales, grills cooking hotdogs and hamburgers and plenty of airboating conversation. There was an opportunity to win a beautiful new 2018 Diamondback Airboat via raffle ticket.
Founded in 1988, the Nonprofit KRVSA raises money all year to help protect the environment and these waterways for generations of sportsman to come. Its moto is "Fighting to Keep Our Waters Navigable." The core of the belief of this organization is that the public waterways should remain open for public use. It is what motivates them.
There is really nothing else like airboating. They glide on the water and on land. The airplane propellers are powered by car engines and can be modified in many ways. There was every variation of airboat imaginable out on the point. Ear protection is recommended as the riders sit very close to the engine on the boat.
Captain Dave Markett was the guide for Nicole Steele, general manager of Guy Harvey's Camp Mack resort. This was to be her first Freedom Ride and I was invited to ride along. We set out from the camp around 8 am. I was in my best snow ski apparel but quickly shed the unneeded outer wear once the sun was overhead. The day was perfect for air boating.
Perhaps my favorite story was from a man in his eighties who told us his sons took the propellers off his airboat so he couldn't take it out alone anymore. He said he still goes out and starts the engine every now and then. I enjoyed seeing families enjoy the day together on their boats. They would pull up in the shore, navigate their boats to just the right spot then walk up to the party together.
Markett says he is a guide to the traditional Florida Cracker Culture. Whether it's showing how to catch the world's biggest tarpon, locating then taking a mature alligator or experiencing undisturbed Florida as indigenous Nives saw her thousands of years ago. He is at your service any time. Learn more at http://www.captdavemarkett.com or email DMarkett@aol.com or call him 813-455-3056 for your real Florida Adventure.
Guy Harvey's Outpost Camp Mack River Resort is an outdoorsman's paradise. With a 40-room hotel, cabins, houses and RV sites to rent, the only thing to do is arrive and launch your boat or rent one from the outfitter at the old country store. The is Guy Harvey's only fresh water resort. You can contact the outpost at http://www.guyharveycampmack.com or 1-800-243-8013. The resort is located at 14900 Camp Mack Road, Lake Wales, FL 33898. At the end of the road your adventure begins.
The KRVSA can be found on Facebook or by calling 863-287-1864.