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Harbor Beach, Michigan
Maritime Festival
Can-Am Cup
July 17-18, 2004


“2004 Harbor Beach Maritime Festival”
Dream Team

Al Kleinknecht
Maritime Festival Committee:

Dream Team:  Kind of congers up visions of the Olympics that are about to captures the hearts and minds of the whole world or maybe about a group of guys in Detroit who just handed the mighty Lakers a wiping that was seen and heard around the country.  This Dream Team is literally a Dream Team.

The Harbor Beach Maritime Festival is now in it’s fourth year and growing every year.  The racing is getting more intense, the entertainment is getting better every year and there are more events than ever before.  One thing about an event of this size and I’m sure anyone who has ever tried to put one on will attest.  It doesn’t just happen by itself!  It takes Teamwork!  It takes a whole bunch of dreaming by a whole crew of individuals to pull off something like this and help it continue to grow and push all the limits that can be pushed.

The first element of producing and event is to look back at last years program and start tweaking things that did work and things that didn’t work.  For this, the Maritime Committee puts in some hours trying to perfect the scheduling, sponsor acquisitions and events in general…usually starts about a week after the event is over for one year. 

This team consists of event Chairman and Volunteers.  Once things get by this stage…. ideas are leaked to someone in the sport itself.  This person is Jeff Hedges with the USWRA.  Jeff is a dreamer who can come up with an idea at the drop of a word.  But he can also be brutal…a potentially good idea can fall at the drop a finger on a delete key when an idea is proven to be not as much of a good idea as first thought.

Next is the person with the technical thinking…Jacque Bryant will let you know if an idea can’t be done, can be done or better yet…how it can be done.

The next people are one’s who present the program to the public;

This year, we were fortune enough to have found a writer with the Huron County Press who has the fresh ideas and can also put them to words.  Chris Ogryski has filled this spot very nicely and continues to think up new angles even as time is drawing near to the event.  I will introduce you to him in a bit and I’m sure you will all get to know him through his writing.

The next people who are going to take this project to the next level are Jamie Deer and Tony Papa.

As most of you know, Jamie Deer is a hotshot region 6 racer who also just happens to be one of the premier Videographer in this sport.  As may of you know or have seen his work, Xtreme Outlaw Productions is presenting the world of Watercross racing to the world thru their work in videos.   This year as part of the Harbor Beach Dream Team, a commercial is being produced that will run on WNEM TV5.  This single event in itself will show the efforts of a group of people with the USWRA and the Harbor Festival Committee to present the event and sport to the world.

Over the next few weeks, Stories that are now running in the Huron County Press will be reproduced on the Internet for all to view.  Chris Ogryski has put together some articles that will range from racers stories to event descriptions such as the Invitational, The Thumb Watercross Challenge, Light House Poker Run, The Maritime Festival Trout Pond…yes a trout pond! A car show, three nights of music and the daddy of them all “The Budweiser Can-Am Cup” Race..

Though interviews and some good research, Chris will begin the presentation of the 2004 Harbor Beach Maritime Festival with the help of Jeff Hedges and www.watercross.com.

Just a note or two about Chris.

Chris moved from the Sterling Heights area to the Thumb of Michigan about 1 ½ years ago.  His wife Jill who grew up in Ubly, always wanted to come back to her hometown to teach.  After teaching a year in Flushing the move was made and Chris became part of the Thumb of Michigan’s landscape.

Jill and Chris have been married about 6 ½ years and have a wonderful daughter named Kylie age three who when ask who she will work for when she grows up states.  "Donald Trump"….Hmmm, I know times are changing but at age 3?  She will probably have a MBA by Junior High.

Chris works for the Huron County Press in Bad Axe with a circulation of over 9,000 subscribers.  He does sports but dabbles with other types of stories and one of them just happened to grab my eye.  He did a good job and put a little fire in the story.

I approached his publisher (Tami Abbot) with the idea of first securing a sponsorship for the Festival program and secondly to sweet talk her into letting me use Chris for this little project.

I guess the timing was right. She said she would be happy to do the program and said “Chris had been bugging her for different things to do? So why not.  He’s yours.

In speaking with Chris after he found out he was set up and kind of pushed into this little project I ask what were you thinking when Tami called you into her office and sprung this on you?  His answer was “now what did I do”,   “I was excited, but also wondered why I had been chosen. I wondered what was the ulterior motive behind what had happened”.

Well he found out and after a short 2-hour brainstorming session, I realized I had made a good decision.  The extreme angle would be a cool approach to this event he stated after watching my copy of Jamie Deer’s “Down on the Line Video”.  So now I guess we will see what makes Chris Ogryski tick. 

There is only one other thing he has to worry about now.  Himself and a crew from The Huron County Press are going to have to try out some brand new Sea Doo’s in the Bud Light/ Sea Doo Invitational just so the feeling for the story is really achieved.














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