2017 Teams

Team #1
Marshall and Rigel Jessen – McClellanville, SC
It wouldn’t be a Georgetown Wooden Boat Challenge without the Jessen family.  Marshall, a 17 -year veteran of the Challenge and a powerful rower, took first place in 2002, 2005 and 2006 with his teammate, George Heyle. Since then, Marshall has been participating in the Challenge with his son, Rigel, and in the past few years he has had some extra help from Rigel’s younger brother, Aiden. Marshall’s wife, Camie, is always in the cheering section with her camera. 

Team #2 – 1ST PLACE Winner
Dynamite Payson National Quality Award
Bobby Staab and Josh Fulp – Cape Carteret, NC and Morehead City, NC

Josh got his first skil saw when he was 24-months-old. He once used it to cut his beard after he tripped on it, going up the stairs. He has since maintained his beard for Wooden Boat Challenges. One time he shaved a couple of weeks before competing in Georgetown and was worried that it wouldn’t grow back in time. It did! Bobby was spawned under a rock during the Paleolithic Age. He has worn the same pair of shorts for every contest and it is debatable if they have ever been washed. The one time he stayed awake for more than three hours, he pressure washed and stained a deck, painted the house, cut the grass, and changed the spark plugs in all his neighbors’ cars! Bobby and Josh first competed together when Josh was in high school and his partner did not show up. Although they have never practiced building a boat together, it seems to work out for them. THEY HOLD THE WORLD RECORD TIME of 1:35:26.

Team #3 – Resourcefulness Award
Zack Westmoreland and Vincent Belle – Jacksonville, NC and Yucca Valley, CA

Zack, a veteran competitor, is back this year with a new team mate, Vincent Belle. Zack’s last competition was in 2015 when he teamed up with his brother, Mark. Zack is a carpenter and woodworker by trade. He loves to work with wood in any shape or form and has a knack for thinking things through.  Vincent Belle moved from California to work in Charleston, SC with Zack. 

Team #4 – 3RD PLACE Winner
David Scott and Scott Hillger – Sinking Spring, OH and Hillsboro, OH

Back for their third year, Scott and Dave’s goals are to soundly defeat the “other family team from up north”, finish their boat in under two hours, and bring home some placing money. They have identified ways to be more competitive – AND they plan to have a good time. David is an AG/IND Mechanics Instructor. He is married to his kindergarten sweetheart and is the father of four daughters and nine grandchildren.  Scott is married to Dave’s youngest daughter. He is a professional woodworker and machinist, and the founder of  Hillger Fine Furniture Co.

Team #5
Adam Myers and Adam Brown – Peebles, OH and Fishers, IN
Adam Myers  is an electrical engineer for G.E. Aviation. Adam honed his word working skills while building a home on the family farm. Being in earshot of his family feud competitor (father-in-law David, Scott) he can’t afford another loss. He’s ready for a comeback and has prayed that his partner has practiced his rowing.  Adam Brown leads a team of engineers for a global energy company. The constant torment and harassment following last year’s family feud left him with no choice but to move his family to Fishers, Indiana. Unfortunately, he has not practiced his rowing.

Team #6
Kennedy Parnell and Will Pitts – Lexington, SC and Columbia, SC

Kennedy and Will are first-time competitors. Kennedy built a 19′ Dory in 2013. He enjoys sailing and exploring the intracoastal waterway.
Will has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of South Carolina. While at USC  he participated in the Concrete Canoe Design team as the concrete mix design captain. Also, he worked as a research assistant/fabricator for graduate students and professors. Currently, he is a geotechnical staff professional at a local engineering firm (F&ME).

Team #7
David Sippe and Jackson Sippe
– Charlotte, NC and Boone, NC
A second year competitor, David has construction in his blood. Owner of an industrial construction company, David enjoys boating, fishing and old house restoration. He was first introduced to Georgetown when working on a project at Winyah power plant over 15 years ago. He loves the town so much that he and his family decided to purchase a house on Front Street that they are slowly renovating.  Jackson, also a second year competitor, will  again join his father in the competition. When not boat building, Jackson enjoys sailing, banjo playing and all things computers.

Team #8
Teddy Dowling and Robert Sweeting – Florence, SC

Teddy is a carpenter who has benefitted from many good and wonderful blessings. He and his wife, Tia, are now part-time residents of Georgetown. Robert, a carpenter for 30 years,  grew up in the Bahamas. He is the proud father of two sons and a granddaughter. 

Team #9
Habitat for Humanity Georgetown County – Green Team
Chris Gardner and John Hill

Chris Gardner – Habitat for Humanity Construction Coordinator
Hometown – Charleston, West Virginia
Worked with Habitat for 7 years
Favorite construction task: Framing 

John Hill – Habitat for Humanity Construction Volunteer
Hometown – Derby, Connecticut
Volunteered with Habitat for 7 years
Favorite construction task: Installing Cabinets and flooring

Kent Hamnick – Habitat for Humanity Construction Volunteer
Hometown – San Diego, California 
With Habitat for 1 year
Favorite construction task: Framing

Team #10
Habitat for Humanity Georgetown County – Blue Team
Gary Stroud and Steve Herbert

Gary Stroud – Habitat for Humanity Construction Volunteer
Hometown – Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Volunteered with Habitat for 2 years
Favorite construction task: Operating the Bobcat

Steve Herbert – Habitat for Humanity Construction Volunteer
Hometown- South West, Indiana
Volunteered with Habitat for 2 years
Favorite construction task: Hitting something with a Hammer

Sara Egan – Habitat for Humanity Site Supervisor
Hometown – Greenville, South Carolina
With Habitat for 1 year
Favorite construction task: Roofing

Team #11
Mike Small and Randy Kinard, Georgetown, SC
Mike has owned John Michael’s Wholesale Nursery for nearly 30 years. Randy is the owner and operator of Lowcountry Cabinets.

Team #12
Tyler Newton and Andrew Newton – Fredericksburg, VA and Bluffton, SC

Team #13 – Tenacity Award
Waccamaw Heating & Cooling – Pawleys Island, SC
Victor Fuentes, Georgetown, SC and Zane Shaw

Victor Fuentes is our warehouse manager and enjoys all things coastal.  He is one with the sea and loves fishing, boating, and kayaking with his family. Victor is known as a jack-of-all-trades and is up for any challenge that is presented to him.  Zane Shaw is originally from Vermont. He is our Lead Installer; however, he has been in the construction industry for over 5 years. Zane loves the fact that his work, family, along with his wife, help support his beliefs and faith.  He is hard working and dedicated to any task that he approaches.

Team #14 
Carteret Community College
Brian Gray and Ronald Sparks – Morehead City, NC and Beaufort NC 
Bryan Gray is the Director of the NC Marine Training and Education Center at Carteret Community College. Currently studying yacht design through the Westlawn Institute. He spent over 15 years in the Boat Manufacturing Industry with a forte in Composites. He is happily married with two boys and two dogs that love to spend the majority of their time on the waters of the Crystal Coast.  Ronald Sparks is a graduate of NCMARTEC with diplomas in Marine Services, Composite Boat Manufacturing, and Marine Services.  He currently works at Lightning Yachts cracking the supervisor whip on all of the other employees. Ronald was the recipient of the Big Rock student of the year award while enrolled at NCMARTEC. He spends his time fishing & duck hunting.

Team #15 – Sportsmanship Award, & Tool Destruction Award
Carteret Community College
Justin Christie and Ryan Borowicz – Hubert NC 
It has been said that Mr. Justin Christie came from a family that inhabited the Amazon Rainforest a long, long time ago. He suffers from a freaky abnormal disorder that grows facial hair at an extremely accelerated rate. He is capable of going from clean shaven to a full 5 inch beard within a 36 hour period. Also, his size and strength is comparable to that of an upright gorilla, which is very useful when other “Air Force” classmates are unable to open old cans of Gel-Coat. Justin is also a veteran of the US marine Corps and is currently emptying the trash cans at Shearline Boatworks part-time. He graduated in August 2016 with 3 diplomas and 2 certificates in Boat Manufacturing & Service along with 1 certificate in Marine Propulsion Systems.  Ryan Borowicz  likes to shave his head, along with other parts of his body, just before every competition that he enters. For some strange reason he believes that having a hairless body that is coated in multiple layers of Coco Butter will help him move faster and make him a little smarter than his competition. Ryan is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, which may have something to do with the “hairless” theory, but we are still proud of him. He is currently sweeping floors part-time at Winter Custom Yachts in Swansboro, NC.  While as a student at MARTEC, he was awarded the 2016-17 BIG ROCK “NCMARTEC Student of the Year” scholarship and graduated in August 2016 with 3 diplomas and 2 certificates in Boat Manufacturing & Service along with 1 certificate in Marine Propulsion Systems.

Team #16
Bryce Becker and Shelby Freeman – Newport, NC and Swansboro, NC
Bryce and Shelby are Croatan High School students in Bobby Staab’s 

Team #17 – 2ND PLACE Winner
New World Record “Golden Calk Gun Award”
Comeback Award
Cody Keithan and Bruno Borzoni – Belfast, ME

Cody is the owner of K Construction, of Belfast, Maine and has had his heart and soul in the carpentry world for 20 years. Cody first saw the boat building competition nearly 4 years ago while volunteering with the Belfast Rotary but wouldn’t compete until 2016. In his first competition, he posted a respectable time of 2HR 45M. After that he was hooked. Last year, Cody and his partner, Bruno, took the official Belfast and unofficial World Records with a time of 1HR 22M 58S. Bruno has always been passionate about the ocean, coming from a family of classic wooden boat builders. He’s been working along side Cody for the past year, honing his skills in residential carpentry. He’s always looking for friendly competition, especially when it comes to boating. He is confident in his teams capabilities and is looking to bring the title back to Mid Coast Maine where shipbuilding once flourished. 

Team #18 – Appreciation Award
Bill Hussey, Jr. and William Hussey III – Charleston, SC 
After a ten year hiatus, past Challenge winner Bill Hussey is back in the game this year competing for the first time with his son, Will.  Bill, along with his partner Eric Peabody, won the Challenge in 1998 (building the Teal design), 2004 (the Georgetown Bateau design) and 2007 (the Monhegan Skiff design). 

Special Awards

Len Anderson Above & Beyond Award
Tom Russell – Sea Level, NC

Stamina Award
Jim Potter – Columbia, SC