In April 25 IssueBy Kim GrahamRCN Reporter
Louisville native Brandon Weppner grew up spending many weekends on his family’s houseboat and jet skiing at Lake Cumberland. Now, at age 23 with 7 years of racing under his belt, he is a co-race producer of Lake Cumberland Grand Prix an Offshore Super Series (OSS) Power Boat Racing Association race.
“I love Lake Cumberland and thought it would be cool to bring these big vessels to the inland waters,” said Weppner.
Weppner said he spoke to Bill Jasper, President of Lake Cumberland State Dock, in 2008 about business opportunities with OSS and tossed up the idea to bring the huge boats to Lake Cumberland.
With support from race producers, the Kentucky Sports Authority, corporate sponsors and a tremendous local volunteer effort, OSS racing will make its Kentucky debut May 15 – 17 on Lake Cumberland at Halcomb’s Landing just south of Jamestown.
“We want to do a lake wide event to benefit the entire community,” Weppner said. “The coolest thing about this event is it is literally in my back yard.”
Some might say the coolest thing is Weppner’s role on the Miss Geico Racing Team. Miss Geico is the reigning National and World OSS racing champion.
“I’ve pretty much played every role from back up driver to PR guy on the Miss Geico Team,” said Weppner.
Weppner plans special events and exhibitions to bring the dramatic bright yellow racing catamaran adorned by a bikini clad female gecko up close and personal to the public.
“We’re rocking and rolling with promotion (of Lake Cumberland Grand Prix),” said Weppner.
Last weekend at Thunder Over Louisville, Weppner and throttle man Scott Begovich raced down the Ohio River at just under 200 miles per hour to give the estimated 800,000 people in attendance a sample of how the boat performs.
“It was a phenomenal weekend,” Weppner said. “The reaction to the Miss Geico boat at Thunder Over Louisville was huge.”
During Kentucky Derby festival week, Miss Geico will be exhibited at several locations and will participate in the Pegasus Parade Thursday, April 30th in Louisville.
“The opportunity to show your family and friends what it’s all about is really special and it just feels surreal,” said Weppner. “It’s an honor.”
Weppner said he also serves as navigator of the vessel coordinating course charting and communication so racing goes as smoothly as possible for the 44 foot, twin turbine, 3,000 horse power catamaran.
“(OSS racing) is the most unique and enthusiastic sport in the world,” said Weppner. “You can’t anticipate what the next wave will bring.”
The adrenaline filled event at Lake Cumberland is an unprecedented race that pushes driving on the water to extreme limits.
“It’s lots more intense and much greater speed than many in this area have had the opportunity to see,” said Weppner.
At Race Village during Lake Cumberland Grand Prix, thrill seeking fans will have the chance to see the massive power boat and meet the Miss Geico Racing Team as well as the other 29 boats and teams scheduled at the event.
Weppner hopes launching Lake Cumberland Grand Prix will mark the beginning of a lasting venture.
“I want this to be not just a onetime thing but an event for many years to come,” he said.