In this incredible SITKA Film, witness one of the most remarkable stories you’ll ever find in all of duck hunting culture. Here are more behind-the-scenes details, directly from filmmaker Ben Potter …
“25 Horse” was the second title we were forced to give our film. “Boat Race” was the first. For me it started while shooting “Dr Duck” in 2014 when one of their crew showed me a YouTube video of the Bayou Meto famous boat races. I couldn’t believe what I saw. Hundreds of boats stacked in a slough ready to do anything to get the hole. I was amazed and knew there was a story there to tell. Fast forward a year, the story was confirmed when one of the dudes from Sitka marketing brought up the idea and asked if I’d ever heard of the Arkansas boat races? It was meant to be and we started planning for the coming season’s film. As a film maker I was licking my chops to get after this famous race. A few months before the season kicked off, Arkansas’ officials announced all boat racing is now illegal and there will be hefty fines for those who would participate in the activity. Our film planning and boat race dreams were crushed. Now as many do know, the boat races were very dangerous. Devout duck hunters, caffeine hyped for opening day, racing through the woods at speeds up to 50mph with their molded boats made for a deadly ride. Sadly, some folks were killed in the races leading to the need to outlaw the activity. Yea, we were bummed not to experience it for ourselves, but know the FWP made a decision for the safety of us all and we appreciate that greatly.
So we shifted gears on our story slightly but stayed steady to capture the timber and the epic ride it gives every hunter who gets after it. Following Dennis Loosier, Billy Cambel, and Blake Fisher (the entertainment), we met up with their good buddy Bubba Snider of Arkansas. We prayed for rain, but as Jim Ronquest (Jimbo) of RNT told me, “The good Lord gave us a bit too much.” High water levels with warm temps made for a tough season. The truth is the conditions are never really right for us duck hunters, but the season gave us a handful of moments we are proud to share with you this season.
25 Horse pays tribute to those hunters willing to get after the rugged timber in hopes of a stack of green by the end of the morning. I have gown a deep respect for these hunters, as the timber is one of the most unforgiving waterfowl environments a duck hunter can enter. It brings out the true and unhindered passion of us duck hunters to the fullest. We salute you all and hope you enjoy the film!
– Ben Potter, CANA Outdoors