MEXICO — Darting through open waters.
For Mexico native brothers George Smith III and Michael Smith, pounding through lakes and rivers at 50-60 miles per hour is what they’ve become fond of while competing in the American Power Boat Association.
Their hard work and dedication led them to capturing titles in the Joe Whetstone Memorial Great Lakes Challenge, which took place in the Saint Joseph River near Constantine, Michigan.
George brought home a title in the 125cc modified hydro class, while Michael grabbed the title in the 125cc modified runabout class in June.
“I was very excited,” Michael said. “It was incredible to compete against the best of the best.”
George added, “It was great competition. I enjoyed it.”
The Mexico natives added to their trophy cases. They also won divisional titles at Northeast Divisionals in Franklin, Pennsylvania.
The Smith brothers compete in two different classes in the APBA, one in a mod class and the other in a stock class. Their title success in Constantine punched their tickets for the APBA Stock and Junior National Championships on July 22 in Wakefield, Michigan.
George, 15, and Michael, 14, took their inspiration for power boating from their grandfather, Jerry David Sr., who is currently an APBA competitor.
“One hundred percent, all of it,” George and Michael said at the same time when it came to the inspiration they get from their grandfather.
David’s interest in power boating is what made George and Michael fall in love with the sport.
“He made us want to race,” Michael said. “It looked like a lot of fun when I first watched him compete.”
David has been inducted into the APBA National Hall of Champions three separate times. George and Michael both mentioned they want to be part of the hall someday.
David builds the motors and boats for George’s and Michael’s competitions. He attends each of their events, and his impact was big in the title run at Constantine.
“Just to see my grandpa’s face made me enjoy the title even more,” George said.
Michael said, “It was great because I saw how happy my grandpa was.”
David’s presence at the APBA events fuels the brothers’ competitiveness.
“We feel motivated when he watches us,” Michael said.
George and Michael started their season at the Jesup Championships in Jesup, Georgia. The season ends in Tabor City, North Carolina, but the Smith brothers’ eyes are set on nationals at the end of the month.
“We’re both nervous, but we’re trying to keep a clear mind,” Michael said.
George said, “We’re hoping to buckle down and do the best we can.”
George will be going into 11th grade in the upcoming school year at Mexico High School. He competes for the Tigers’ varsity wrestling and football teams.
Michael will be entering high school as a ninth-grader. He competed on the varsity wrestling team and will continue to do so, and join the varsity football squad after competing at the modified level.