Eric Dement says he’s tired of coming in second place, and this weekend is the first leg of his quest to bring home his first drag boat racing championship.
Dement is one of over 80 racers competing in 11 different divisions at this weekend’s Southern Drag Boat Association Season Opener at Lake Bryan. Friday was the first of two qualifying days, with the finals being held on Sunday. This is the first of six SDBA races this summer, which culminate with the SDBA Finals in El Reno, Oklahoma, on Aug. 27-29.
“We’re excited to get the season kicked off and Lake Bryan here is a beautiful place,” said Dement, who’s from Luling. “We couldn’t ask for better weather today. Hopefully it’ll hold out, and we’re just excited to get in there and go mash some of that loud pedal and see what happens.”
This is Dement’s sixth year competing as a drag boat racer. He’s racing his boat, The Real Bad Boy, in the Pro Outlaw division.
“We did a lot of changes this offseason to the boat,” Dement said. “We just want to make sure everything’s going to be good and everything’s happy. Our main goal is go out there and win.”
Colton Jordan, who serves as SDBA’s public address announcer, kept spectators entertained by giving play-by-play action of racers in boats with names such as Voodoo Canoe and Stimulus Check.
“I like to tell people whenever they come out to a drag boat race, it’s like all the drag boat racers got together and decided they were going to do a party and they brought their boats and they decided to race at the party,” Jordan said.
Some boats clocked over 160 miles per hour and zoomed down the lake course in under 5.4 seconds.
“It’s having the right engine combination with power management, because it’s really easy to burn the props in one of these things if you throw too much of it. It’s really the balance of the boat weight-wise, too,” Jordan said.
Jordan said he has a wager going with one of Dement’s crew members this weekend: if Dement wins, the crew member gets to throw Jordan in the lake.
Competition is fierce, but Jordan said those racing are one big family.
“It doesn’t matter if you need a part, it might be the person you’re racing against in the next round, but they will give you that part just so they can race you,” Jordan said. “There’s no freebies out here, and if you need something, all you need to do is ask somebody, and I guarantee you they will try to do whatever they can or do whatever you can to help you get out here because of the competition and the family aspect.”
Dement agreed drag boat racing is a family sport.