Fountain’s racing legacy celebrated on “Reggie Day”

Published 3:44 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Powerboat racing and boating industry legend Reggie Fountain was celebrated on Tuesday, April 23 by friends, family and Fountain Boats employees. They gathered to honor Fountain on what is now, officially known as “Reggie Day” in Beaufort County. 

“I am honored by this special day and appreciate the decades of coverage we’ve received from The Washington Daily News. Fountain Powerboats would not exist without the support of thousands of passionate employees and the support of Beaufort County. We’ve put Washington, North Carolina on the map as the high performance boating capital of the world. In large part, my success is tied to the people of this incredible community and I am very thankful for them all,” Fountain said in a statement sent to the Daily News. 

His son, Wyatt, added, “What a well-deserved honor ‘Reggie Day’ is for my father. It’s both inspiring and humbling when you step back and look at all Dad has accomplished. Whether it’s in the advancement of recreational boating, as a world champion boat racer or as a civic leader, he has won at every challenge he attempted. Reggie has poured his heart and soul into Fountain Powerboats and the people that make our company go. Truly, Dad embodies everything you would expect from a legendary local American Success story.”  

Earlier this month, the Board of Beaufort County Commissioners voted in favor of a resolution proclaiming April 23 as “Reggie Day” to honor the life and legacy of Reggie Fountain. Board of Commissioners Chairman, Frankie Waters, read the proclamation aloud during a ceremony on Tuesday morning. 

“We express our deepest gratitude to Reggie Fountain for his tireless efforts in providing employment opportunities, raising awareness and making a life-changing difference to many in our community,” a portion of the proclamation reads. 

He added that the commissioners wanted to be part of “Reggie Day” given the economic impact Fountain Powerboat has had on Beaufort County since starting more than 45 years ago. Fountain Powerboat is one of the largest employers in Beaufort County, and has generated $1.5 billion in sales over the last 45 years. 

The ceremony included remarks from Earl Malpass, airport manager of Washington-Warren Airport and Beaufort County Sheriff Scott Hammonds. Malpass and Hammonds recognized Fountain’s contributions to the airport and law enforcement. 

At one time, Fountain managed the Washington Airport. He refurbished the runway and  added fencing around the airport. The way Fountain managed the airport became the “standard” Malpass said. There were many stories of “back when Reggie ran the airport;” therefore, Malpass made it his goal to manage the airport either the same way or better than Fountain. 

“I was standing on his shoulders, if you will, trying to maintain the standard he had set years before. We’ve endeavored to do that and to make him proud of what is going on at the airport…,” Malpass said.  

Mass presented Fountain with a trophy to express the airport’s appreciation for the hard work he put into refurbishing Washington-Warren Airport and bringing international attention to it. 

Sheriff Scott Hammonds thanked Fountain for his generosity toward law enforcement. 

Fountain would often buy meals for North Carolina State Troopers when dining out. “I was probably one of those that you bought several meals for,” Hammonds joked, referring to his previous career as a State Trooper. 

Hammonds read aloud a certificate of appreciation from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office to Fountain. The certificate describes Fountain as a “distinguished ally in a collective effort to maintain justice, peace and order in our community.” 

World Champion boat racer Ed Smith was presented with the “Reggie Fountain Perpetual Trophy.” This new, annual award will go to the highest performing VEE bottom speed boat and will be presented by Smith who is president of the Offshore Powerboat Association. 

After recognitions, Fred Ross, owner of Iconic Marine Group – which includes Fountain Powerboat – shared that he purchased and restored the first powerboat Fountain ever built, “Hull One.” When restoration was completed, Ross gave the boat to Fountain as a gift. 

“I can’t be happier to own Fountain Boats. The pride that it gives me is unmatched,” Ross said.