Jet ski races on Lake Osoyoos?

OROVILLE – The Oroville Chamber of Commerce has been approached by a member of the Northwest Jet Sports Association about the possibility of bringing jet ski races to Oroville on Lake Osoyoos.

Roger Harnack, publisher of the Omak Chronicle and an avid jet ski enthusiast, was at the Thursday, Feb. 7 meeting of the chamber of commerce.

“Two years ago we started a races and a freestyle show in Pateros as part of their Apple Pie Jamboree . Last year we went to Soap Lake and the money they raise goes to build their giant Lava Lamp project,” said Harnack.

He said that the association used to have events in Western Canada, but there haven’t been any in the past three years.

“There used to be events in Kelowna and Penticton. With your new city park it would be a great opportunity to put on a venue at Veteran’s Memorial Park, rather than Deep Bay Park,” he said, adding that a race could bring in those people from Canada who no longer have the opportunity to see a local race.

Harnack said races would be Friday, Saturday and Sunday and that usually they attract 45 teams and a couple hundred tourists.

“The difference between jet skis and the hydros is our pits are open and anyone with a jet ski can race. Locals can register the day of the race. Our youngest racer is my daughter and she is 10-years-old and rides a stand up jet ski,” he said. “The oldest, if he competes this year, is 68.”

When asked what kind of support the association would need to put on a race, Harnack, who is also a member of the Okanogan County Tourism Council board, suggested the chamber apply for county hotel/motel tourism dollars. Oroville City Clerk Kathy Jones said she could help with an application to the city for their tourism dollars as well.

Although a time of year hasn’t been pinned down, Harnack suggested August if it was to take place this year. Jones recommended the first part of June because Veterans Memorial Park is rarely full then. Other suggestions were for after Labor Day.

The chamber board will continue to discuss the issue and decide if they would like to sponsor a race this summer at the earliest or in 2014