American Ethanol Summer 2017 - Page 19

and it’s renewable. It offers nothing but positives as a marine fuel.” His agricultural heritage is one reason Onken was happy to partner with Growth Energy when the association approached him about a sponsorship opportunity. “Growth Energy has been great to work with,” Onken noted. “They’re all farm-oriented people.” Farming remains a part of the Onken family, with Don’s brother and his son now running the farming operation. Onken appreciates the value ethanol brings to American agriculture. “When I was growing up on the farm, a lot of farmers barely made a living,” he recalled. “Without ethanol, they would be making a lot less right now. That’s another reason we’re loyal to the ethanol brand.” With four engines powered by E85, Onken’s boat tied the speed record for a piston-engine boat at the 2015 Shootout—208 mph—and took home the Top Gun title. The boat recorded a Top Gun repeat in 2016, this time with a top speed of 217 mph. “We couldn’t have done it without ethanol,” Onken stated. “After we took Top Gun for two years, we’re seeing a lot more boats moving to ethanol.” SUMMER 2017 Photo courtesy of George Denny Photography 19 19