Racers gear up for RUSH Regatta

BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Senior Jessica Ray knows a few things about winning the annual RUSH Regatta and Ray along with teammates senior Emily Jeung, senior Matthew Macbeth and sophomore Gabe Puzio in Team One plan to win this year’s cardboard and duct tape boat race on July 14.
This will be the eighth year for the Ray family participating in the boat race as her brother and sister have won the races in previous years as well.

From left, Matthew Macbeth, Jessica Ray and Emily Jeung. Not pictured, Gabe Puzio. Photo by Wendi Reardon Price

“I am just hoping we can do the best we can,” Ray said. “We are trying to catch up with sponsorships. Hopefully we will be able to win.”
“And keep up her family legacy,” Jeung added.
Ray also knows a thing or two about building a Wicked Fast Watercraft, one of the areas teams can earn points to win the RUSH Cup.
“We have seen all the methods that don’t work out,” Ray said. “We have learned from those. Some have surprised us, it was just cardboard but it made it through all the races.”
“Some are more durable than they look,” Jeung added.
Another portion of the event teams can earn points is raising money by getting sponsorships and Team One has set a goal to raise at least $4,000 but would like to raise more.
“We are working on cold calling companies and contacting previous sponsors we have relationships with to be able to grow those relationships and ask them for returning sponsorship or to raise their sponsorship level,” Jeung said. “It did help we won world championship that’s it like would you like to sponsor a world championship team?”
The sponsorships help cover costs during the robotics season especially with traveling and lodging.
Ray added they are trying to get new uniforms this year.
“Our current ones are old and falling apart,” she said. “It’s important for us to go out and get more sponsorships then we have in past years.”
For Macbeth, he is learning as he goes as he is new to Clarkston Community Schools and his previous school didn’t have a robotics team or a cardboard and duct tape boat race.
“It’s an interesting way to raise sponsorships,” he said. “From what I have seen so far it has worked. My team has definitely helped me through. Being on the team with people who have done it for a lot of years has made the process easier than if I had been on a team of all people new to the team.”
As for boat building, Team One was on the designing phase as of last week with plans to start building before the end of June.
“It will definitely be a time crunch for us,” Ray said.
The team was finalizing what boat design but they knew for sure what they wanted their theme to be the day the team was chosen. They will set sail as pirates.
Team One is confident they will be the champion out of the seven other teams this year.
“We have eight years of experience,” Macbeth said.
“We are going to have a good boat,” Ray said. “We are really motivated to get sponsorships.”
“Our presentation skills are strong,” Jeung added. “We really want to finish this year strong.”
The 11th annual RUSH Regatta is Saturday, July 14 at Deer Lake Beach. The boat parade is at noon followed by the first round of races.