Anyone who has been around the hydrodrags, as we have, will know Kerry and April Hibdon. They are the husband and wife Hydro-drag team that have been tearing up the drag strip for several years and making sure that their presence is both felt and heard! PR spent 5 minutes with the Hibdons so we could share their story!
PR: Kerry and April, can you tell us a little about your background? Where you are from and what do you do for a living etc.
AH: I am from McMinnville, TN. I was raised with 3 older brothers. I am a bachelors level social worker (currently working on my masters in social work from University of Tennessee– only 1 year left…yay!). I am the Director of a Geriatric Psych unit within a hospital (we treat seniors with dementia and other mental health related issues). Kerry and I have a wonderful 21 year old son, Michael, who is a senior at Middle Tennessee State University.
KH: I am from Woodbury, TN. I was raised with 2 sisters. I am an electronics technician and have owned Kerry’s TV in McMinnville, TN since 1993. I grew up in a garage and put my first starter on a Chevy when I was 10 years old. The customer had to hold it up but I knew how to put it on and he didn’t. I have been wrenching and repairing electronics for 35-40 years.
PR: When did you first get involved with racing PWC?
Kerry heard on the radio that they were renting them at Nashville Shores in Nashville, TN so we went down and rented some- that was in 1995. When we first rode them the guy said they would do 35 mph and that we could hold them wide open…we were scared to death…now we make multiple 90+ mph passes. We had a blast and rented them 2 more times before deciding to buy a pair. Our first ones were Kawasaki 900 ZXI’s, it was not long before Kerry wanted more speed and that is where it all started. We started out just racing with friends at the lake. We attended rides like Jetfest, some Patrick Mell sponsored rides, PPG sponsored rides, etc. Many of these rides had poker runs, slalom courses and radar runs. After the 900 zxi’s we moved up to the 1100 zxi’s then the Ultra 150. It was April who rode a Yamaha GPR and decided she liked it better and we have been Yamaha ever since. We now ride the Yamaha FZR. Kerry’s first drag race was for the intermission for the drag boat association on an Ultra 150. Kerry did not start racing closed course or official drag racing until we purchased the FZR’s.
PR: Why drag racing?
AH: I always wanted to race closed course but as a mother I did not want to get hurt so I never did. The first race I saw was in Macon. I always admired those ladies like Amy Green, Susan Anderson, Kelly, Tera, etc., and how they would get out there and mix it up with all those guys. Those gals had no fear. I would compete in radar runs and things like that and I would race with Kerry and our friends at the lake. It took me a season or two to get out there, mainly because I was intimidated by the launch pad but once I did, I enjoyed it. I like the speed and the competition. It is something that Kerry and I can enjoy together.
KH: I love the speed and the acceleration. I have always enjoyed the thrill of side-by-side racing but it was always hard to say who really won, if someone took off too quick, etc. The hydro-drags gives us a fair and level playing field with an official winner.
PR: Have you always raced Yamaha and why?
AH: I have not officially raced anything other than Yamaha because we already had them when the Hydrodrags started.
KH: Officially yes and because I want to win.
PR: What do you do for fun other than racing and pwc?
AH: Right now, with school, I don’t have much time for anything else. I do enjoy reading, being with my family, swimming, movies, and taking trips with family.
KH: I enjoy spending time with my family, listening to music and movies.
PR: What advise would you give anyone who wants to get involved with drag racing?
AH: Just do it. Whether you win or lose, it is a fun experience. We need more females in the sport. I think they are considering a box stock class for next season which would be the perfect opportunity for someone to try it for the first time.
KH: Get a boat and get started. It is some of the most fun that I have ever had. You can start with a pretty stock boat inexpensively. If you want to win…you want to buy a Yamaha.
PR: April, we were witness to that nasty dismount in Tavares, how are you doing now and are you planning on getting back in the saddle?
Thank you for asking, I am getting better each day. I am still going to physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in my right leg and we are making progress. I had originally said that I would not race again, just because of all I went through, but I do enjoy it so I wouldn’t count me out completely just yet. Time will tell but I don’t foresee it happening this year. I will definitely ride again, though.
PR: Well, we are certainly glad to hear that you will be back! Is there anything else you would like to add?
AH: I would like to thank my wonderful husband Kerry. He works very hard and builds an awesome and fierce ski. He has always been so supportive of me and encourages me. He is an amazing man and I am truly blessed. I would like to thank our son Michael, who thinks we are crazy, but always supports us and is proud of us. Stan Hightower, who along with Kerry, always gives me riding tips and pushes me to do the best that I can. They are just as excited when I do well as they are when they do. The Hydro-drag family…we have made some great friends through these events. Mikey Young and his team who organize this event and tolerate all the craziness that goes with it. R & D racing and of course Yamaha.
KH: My wife, April, who is always supportive. Stan Hightower for teaching me how to ride closed course (he helped me win my first national championship) and for teaching me how to come off the ramp at the Hydrodrags. I would like to thank Bill Chapin and Glen Dickenson at R & D racing for all their help in making the boats run good. Glen and Michelle at Skat Trak for the awesome hook up. Yamaha for all their support and help and for building such an awesome machine.
Thank you to the Hibdons for spending some time with us!! The next GreenHulk Hydro-drags will be July 12th weekend at Polk county Water-ski Hall of fame.
Make sure you get your July / Aug issue of Prorider as our Hydro-drag spotlight continues with a candid interview with Carltio Del Valle, Maikel Gonzalez and the CRT clan!