The American Power Boat Association (APBA) inducted several offshore racing participants into its Hall of Champions at its annual meeting in Seattle, WA. Among them were owner/throttleman Tyler Miller and driver Myrick Coil of Team M CON, and owner/driver Dean Stahlman and throttleman Nate Hunt of Team Predator.
In addition, Race World Offshore President Larry Bleil received the group's Best Large Race Site award for the 2022 World Championships in Key West.
Miller and Coil previously won the prestigious APBA National Championship in 2022, as well as the 2022 Union Internationale Motonautique World Championship. Kansas native Miller is the owner of the earthworks company M CON, while Coil is shop foreman and a mechanic at Performance Boat Center. The pair, who have been wildly successful in Super Cat class piloting their M CON 388 Skater, will also be entering Class 1 racing in a brand-new 438 Skater, called Monster Energy/M CON.
"It was a lot more than I had ever anticipated," Miller told Speedboat of the ceremony. "I didn't realize the history and nostalgia behind the American Power Boat Association, so to receive such an award was a genuine honor, once I knew the heritage and who the other inductees have been. It's astounding when you consider the notables who have raced for so many years but who have never received that award. It just really brings everything into perspective."
He adds: "This is kind of a funny story: My wife Lindsey and I got to Seattle on Thursday because we had some meetings that afternoon. When I checked in with the APBA, the lady said, 'Do you have your speech ready for Saturday night?' And I said, 'Speech? What are you talking about?' I didn't have any speech prepared. I don't do speeches. She just kind of looked at me with a blank stare and said, 'Oh, honey. You need to give a speech.' I just had no idea how big of an event it was going to be. I come out of there with a much better perspective on the APBA. It was very cool."
Coil told Speedboat that he was also deeply honored by his induction into the Hall of Champions this year. "It was really cool when they gave me my jacket," he says. "It had two years on it, because I've been inducted twice. Hopefully, you never know, I might get another year added to it."
He says his racing partner deserves the accolades because he's laser-focused on winning. "I was really happy for Tyler—he's put a lot of work into getting to the top. I know it was very eye-opening for him, just as it was for me last year, to see all of the people who have spent so much of their time and money to go racing all over the country—people we don't even see, just because we happen to be on the offshore side of things. And it was great to see Larry Bleil honored for having the best offshore race venue, Key West."
Predator throttleman Nate Hunt was at the ceremony with his wife Connie (who often acts as the team's observer), as well as driver Dean Stahlman and the team's engine builder, Bruce Baker. "It was great," he told Speedboat. "It's pretty prestigious. It was a lot of fun and it was great to see a lot of people that I've known over the years—even in sides of boat racing outside of offshore. Tim Seebold and his family are friends of ours; Bill Seebold lives here in Naples and comes over to my shop and hangs out once in a while."
Of course, the Seattle meeting was not just about the Hall of Champions inductions, Hunt points out. "We go there for rule changes and other matters related to the APBA. Some people thought Predator had an unfair advantage in Class 4, so we have decided that Predator will race in Class 2." (Predator is a 1987 Apache.)
"The boat is in awesome shape," he says. "We do total inspections of the boat every time we race. There's nothing wrong with the superstructure of this thing. It's built like a brick house. It's really strong."
After moving to Class 2, Hunt says Team Predator will soon be expanding into more classes. He's currently eyeing a replacement competitor for Class 4, a 27' Magnum that used to be owned by legendary racer Roger Munn of Jolly Roger fame; that boat will likely become active in 2024. He has also purchased another boat to participate in Class 6 that Dean Stahlman's son Ryan will race sometime this season. "We're even talking about one more boat, for Class 7, that will feature a startup team," he says.