He started racing boats at the age of three, and at the age of nine he became the youngest person to ever win Nationals. This is Sam Bowden. He builds and races model boats.
“I enjoy doing it, it’s easy to me,” Sam Bowden said.
His dad inspired him to work with boats, and now it’s an interest they both share. They belong to the International Model Power Boat Association (IMPBA). Sam’s dad has been racing for 27 years, and has won Nationals once. Nationals consists of a 7 day race in July that over 500 people participate in. Each race consists of 6 laps. Nationals are usually in a difference place- this year it was in Ohio.
“I enjoy working on them and driving them,” Ray Bowden, Sam’s dad, said. “Its a passion to me, I’ve devoted a lot of time and money into this.”
These boats can get up to 100mph, but there’s a high price to pay for that kind of speed. The boat itself can cost anywhere from $200-$1500 and there are three types of boats to choose from: Mono, Hydro, and Tunnel. A motor would cost $200-$800. After getting that out of the way the fuel is about $30 per gallon.
“Hydros are the best because they are the fastest, and I feel that I do a lot better when I race those,” Sam said.
Sam and his dad travel a lot for these races. They go to Indiana, Iowa, Georgia and other places. Ray’s favorite race is in Evansville, Indiana.
“There is a lot of good competition, and it is in a good location,” Ray said.
Right now Sam and his dad are in the process of preparing for the Evansville race. It will be Sep 25-26.
“I have been going to Evansville since I was six, that’s where I ran my first boat,” Sam said. “The atmosphere there is just good because there is so much competition and everyone is just trying to have a good time,” Sam said.
Not only do they spend a lot of time just traveling to competitions, but they also spend much time preparing the boats for races. They also make their own fuel. They buy alcohol, pure nitro methane and oil. The fuel is 20% oil, 20-30% alcoSenior
Sam Bowden and other boat racer Joe Warren stands and receives their awards at in the Evansville competition in June. Sam has been building boats with his dad since he was three. (photo submitted)
hol, and 60% pure nitro methane. The process may be complicated, but Sam has enough experience to do it.
“It’s just something that is very complicated to deal with,” Sam said.
Sam’s dad was introduced to the sport by a friend when he was growing up, then he was able to share it with Sam. Now it’s a huge part of both their lives, and they can do it together. It could take them two months to a year to build a boat, so they have to have a lot of patience.
“It’s something that brings me and my son closer,” Ray said.