My team, my drag boat family, & a little about my life.

Hi everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! My family held our family Christmas for the first time at our brand new shop, and trust me, it has been a long time coming. My parents have been talking about moving to the family farm and build
ing a shop house for as long as I can remember, and it’s finally done! Which is a wonderful thing for our racing operation because we’ve never really had a shop that was solely for racing. My parents own a machine shop in our hometown so on the weekends, dad and I would get the boats out of the trailer, wash them/work on them, and then have to put them back before work on Monday. You could see how this could get annoying when you’re in the middle of a project on Sunday afternoon and you have to put everything away. It’s even more annoying when you’re in the middle of fixing a motor on a Wednesday night before leaving for a race that next day and you have to worry about the fact that the business has to also operate. So you can see how big of a deal it is to us that we now have a shop just for the boats. We can leave everything however we want it and not have to worry about interrupting the business. The toter home and trailer also get to be in the shop which is nice for my mom when she’s working on getting everything cleaned and restocked for our next race. I think what amazes me the most about all this is the fact my mom is giving up her 4000 square foot house to live in a 1400 square foot apartment in the corner of our shop. If you know my mom, she’s always been the biggest supporter of my dad and I’s racing careers but this is a whole new level of supportive. Family has always been a big thing for our team. I’ve known all of my team members since I was very little, and we’ve always been so close that we truly feel like a family. I mean, when you travel across the country and spend more time with these people than most of your biological family, you’re bound to be close. My dad got into boat racing from his former brother-in-law and a lot of my family used to go to the close races and watch him race. For as long as I can remember, the boat races have felt like home to me. Growing up at the race track is like having hundreds of “moms” & “dads.” My parents would always tell me that if I ever got lost, to go to anyone’s pit, tell them that I’m Todd Ebert’s daughter and they would get me to the right place. This also meant that I couldn’t do anything bad because I had so many people keeping an eye on me all the time;) I know that some people could never understand why in the world would you want to grow up at the racetrack, but after you’ve lived it, there’s absolutely no better way to grow up in my opinion. At 3 years old, my mom and dad should have known they were screwed. My dad sold his old hydro and even though we had a new one sitting in the garage, I ran down the driveway after it as the new owners drove off with it yelling “Bring me my boat back!” It’s no wonder that my parents were so supportive of my dreams. My mom still has stories that I wrote when I was young; some about how the boat races work, some about the fact that I was going to race a jetski, have a pit crew, and win a world championship. And yes, all of those things happened:) It’s crazy how kids can predict the future. As I grew up a little bit, all of my friends back home were joining traveling softball, volleyball, basketball, etc etc, teams and I soon made the decision as a little 10 or 11 year old that I didn’t want to be like a normal kid. I wanted to go racing with my parents in the summer, not travel for “regular” sports. I know some of my friends at the time didn’t understand, but I think they do now, seeing where I am today. It sucked sometimes, because when I got older and played in high school, everyone who did play traveling sports was more experienced than me. I was okay, but I wasn’t the best on the team. And soon, I gave up volleyball because it interfered with racing. And later I would give up softball as well. I also missed birthday parties. Then you would have those parents that just didn’t invite me because “they didn’t know if we would be in town or not.” It hurt at the time, but I would go back and do it the same way every single time. Because once you’ve grown up in the drag boat racing world, suddenly, there aren’t a lot of things that are more important than racing and your drag boat family. I started racing and I made so many friends; many that I still have today. I had such a blast racing against everyone in the PWC2 class; more fun than I EVER had playing “regular” sports. All of a sudden, it’s like I was where I was meant to be. We raced against each other, we had Friday night movie nights, we looked forward to the next time we would all get to be together. Eventually, some people moved up, some people decided to move on and stop racing. But I’m still so close with everyone it’s amazing. It’s like you have that bond with only so many people. Your friends back home don’t understand it, so you have this special bond with the boat racing kids. I can only hope that my kids get to experience that someday. Now, one of my best friends, who dragged me out of my toterhome one night (I used to be a loner back before I started racing) and introduced me to so many awesome people, now has a baby and is getting married. One of my other great friends just graduated from Texas A&M and will be going to law school. Another has an awesome job installing security systems and will hopefully be racing again soon. Everyone started doing their own thing, but I never found a reason to stop. Racing became my thing. So I started moving up to different classes, and I think my dad and mom finally realized that this wasn’t just a few year thing for me and that I actually might be decent at it. So they kept moving me up. My boat was consistent (eventually lol) and I could cut pretty good lights and people started to notice. My team totally believed in me and I continued to learn so many things about this sport that I love so dearly. I think the best thing about being on a race team is seeing the dynamic. If you could spend one day in our pit, you could definitely figure us out. My dad is the nervous wreck, my mom tries to stay calm but she’s the secret nervous wreck(it’s not a very good kept secret), Barney is the “you got this” guy, Selden is the “I knew you could do it” guy, Travis is the comic relief, and I just try to do my best to make them all proud. Now, I travel from Parker, AZ to Augusta, GA from March to November every season doing what I love to do more than anything. In the off season, I travel to banquets and to appearances. And I also try to do my best as a full time student. I travel with people who I trust with my life and I love with my whole heart. They may not be blood, but I guarantee you if you come into our pit, you’ll be able to tell how close we all are. It’s crazy how all of this gets started and every little decision you make, even has a young 10 year old, can determine how your life pans out. To think that everything would have been different if my pre teen self would have joined a traveling softball team instead of going to the races all the time is just crazy to me. It’s truly amazing how life works. For me, family is everything. And by that, I mean my team and my drag boat family. I’m not here to brag; I’m here to let you in on some of my story and I just hope that you all learn a little bit more about me and my journey.

 

Thanks so much for reading!

Shelby

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