SPARKS, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- More than 130 professional watercross riders from six countries will descend into Reno-Sparks for the U.S. Open of Watercross. The winner will rely on a combination of engineering and physical and mental skill.
Jet skis will be zipping through the Sparks Marina this weekend, topping speeds more than 90 miles per hour.
Professionals like Eric Francis know it takes more than just good engineering to dominate in the sport. "The ski has to be top notch. As a person, you have to have good cardio, good mental. It's a lot of breathing, a lot of planning out. It's just not going out there brute force riding."
This is the first time Francis is racing at the Sparks Marina course, the third stop in the Hydro-turf Pro Watercross Tour. His eyes are on the prize. "It’s been dominated by a few certain riders who have done very well. It would be nice to knock them off their perch."
However, it could be difficult, due to the area's altitude and lack of oxygen. Announcer Mike Young said it usually throws the competitors for a loop. "The tuners have to be able to tune for this altitude. Most of the races that we do are close to sea level obviously we're way above sea level here, and it's obviously going to make a difference this weekend at Sparks Marina."
Nonetheless, there will be a full-throttle action on the water. "It's a very adrenaline-rushing, kind of sport," said Francis. "Lots of testosterone and aggression out there."
Maybe not just testosterone. Women's National Champion Anna Glennon, 18, will be one of the few females in the races. Her career launched after helping her dad build a vintage jet ski. "This year, I’m racing against the boys, so it's not just the women's class for me anymore. Sometimes the boys don't take you seriously and it feels really great when you go out there and you beat the boys."
The races will be held both Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free. Organizers urge you to bring sunblock and your own seating.
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