More water, more fun?

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DEVIN HEILMAN/Hagadone News Network file Jet boat pilot Ross Schlotthauser’s “Bat Outta Hell” USA1 unlimited class jet boat launched out of the St. Joe River in the 2017 “Race the Joe!” event.

By CHANSE WATSON

Managing Editor

CALDER — The 7th annual “Race the Joe!” jet boat races are once again set to return this year from May 17-19.

The ever-popular race has been responsible for bringing in more than 10,000 spectators and over a dozen competitors to cities in the St. Joe region, such as St. Maries and Calder.

While this year’s event is still set to go off without a hitch, a new proposition from organizers to Shoshone County officials though would extend the length of the race course approximately 8 miles upriver.

In years past, the races would start in St. Maries and end at the Calder bridge area. If this extension was approved by the Shoshone County commissioners, the new finish line would be at the Marble Creek bridge area just east of Pocono.

Shoshone County Planning & Zoning Administrator/Emergency Manager Dan Martinsen explains that event organizers pitched the idea for this extension “to add some challenge to a leg of the race for the smaller boats.”

In that proposed 8-mile stretch — the St. Joe River is generally lower in water level, narrower and has more obstacles.

Shoshone County commissioners traveled to Calder on March 14 to discuss the jet boat races and the proposed extension with locals in a public hearing at the Calder Store restaurant. Following that meeting, the commissioners will then have to approve both the original race (which is expected) and then address the extension. Their decision on that proposal is expected sometime next week.

Since the St. Joe River (and the race course) flows through both Shoshone and Benewah counties, the jet boat race organizers must secure the approval of officials in both.

For more information on the event itself, visit the “St. Maries — St. Joe River Jet Boat Race” Facebook page or contact race director and coordinator, Shirley Ackerman at 208-245-3563.

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