The state's only watercraft team races to victory
Three-member crew happy to bring a bit of exposure to West Virginia

by Ashley B. Craig
Daily Mail staff

#gallerycontainer a, #gallerycontainer a:visited { text-decoration:none; color: #006688; color: #006600;}#gallerycontainer a:hover { text-decoration:underline; color: #fff;}#gallerycontainer .enlarge a { color: #333;}Gallery
[+] Enlarge

1 of 3 Photos

Drew Roush

More Photos Ľ

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- This team flies the state flag wherever they're racing.
Team Black Star, West Virginia's only personal watercraft racing team, made big splashes on the water racing scene during the 2008 season. Now the team members are hoping to get even better.
The three-man team competed all over the East Coast in the American Power Boat Association's National Tour, earning top marks in the tour's regional races. The scores earned them a place at the APBA National Finals in Nashville, Tenn., in late August. There the team faced off against 300 of America's best personal watercraft racers.
"We're very proud to be from West Virginia. It's amazing, the places we'll go like in New York and places, people still think West Virginia is part of Virginia," Trey Frame said. "It's good for us and it's good for the state.
It was at the National Finals where the youngest member of the team made his mark on the sport. Drew Roush, 16, was crowned national champion in the amateur 800 stock and limited categories. Trey, the unofficial team leader of Team Black Star, placed second overall in the pro-class. Cameron Frame, Trey's younger brother, placed third in the pro-class 800 open.
The team always had planned to compete at the national level, but with the high scores came another prospect - the World Finals. To compete against the best in the world the team would have to be invited, and after their victories at the national finals they had successfully punched their own tickets.
The team had talked about going to the International Jet Sports Boating Association World Finals in Arizona to compete, but the distance deterred them.
"We were sitting at Bob Evans when we decided after doing so well at nationals we should try our hand," said Trey, 32. The team hauled their Sea-Doos from Charleston to Lake Havasu City, Ariz. - more than 2,000 miles - in October. Cameron Frame, 29, spent more than 30 hours on the road while his teammates and family flew out so Drew would miss fewer days of school.
Getting the Sea-Doos to Arizona and back cost the team more than $2,500 in diesel fuel, Trey estimated. Not to mention the $600 worth of racing fuel and $900 in entry fees.
An appearance at the world finals provided more exposure for the team and the state than the national tour had.
The world finals attracted the best jet-ski racers in the world from more than 31 countries. Riders from countries as far as Australia, Russia, New Zealand and Kuwait descended upon Arizona to race for the title of world champion in their division.
The boy from Elkview surprised them all.
Drew won the title of World Champion in the Amateur 800 Limited. He placed second in his other race, Amateur 800 Open.
Drew's father, Frank Roush, was watching from the sidelines when Drew crossed the finish line, beating Thailand's best amateur racer, Nutchapon Padungkietamol, convincingly. The junior from George Washington High School, who races in a custom helmet with a fluorescent yellow Mohawk, was so far ahead of the other racers he was able to slow down for an impromptu photo shoot as he crossed the finish line, Roush said with a laugh.
"It feels awesome. I didn't really expect it for my second year racing," Drew said.
Trey finished 7th and Cameron finished 9th, respectively, in the 800 superstock class.
Drew's victory and the overall team performance prompted an invite to the White Sands Jet Ski King's Cup race in Thailand, a race that offers $100,000 in prize money and a large silver trophy awarded by a princess of Thailand.
The team declined the invitation, opting to spend the off-season at home preparing for next year.

Racing has brought the team closer to each other.
Roush, 56, is the team mechanic and also works with the Frame brothers as the general manager at their family-owned business, Daniels Electric. Trey serves as the vice president, and Cameron works as an electrical contractor at the business.
Roush says he was the first to own a Sea-Doo in the Kanawha Valley when he got his in the 1970s and was among the first hired to work at Daniels Electric. Roush used to race cars but hasn't raced with the team.
Naturally, racing was in Drew's blood, but instead of cars he wanted to race all-terrain vehicles. Roush wasn't thrilled about that.
"It's too dangerous. Twelve miles in the backwoods up in Summersville," Roush said.
Roush found an alternative, Sea-Doos.
Trey approached Roush and asked to bring Drew out on the water with him and Cameron, Roush said. Trey, 32, has been riding Jet Skis since he was 14 years old. Cameron has been racing for eight years. The brothers took Drew out on the water, and his father was pleased with the results.
"He was hooked," Roush said with a grin.
They describe how the experience has brought them together.
"Before we just worked together; we didn't have a lot in common. Now we're very close," Roush said.
They recalled an incident earlier in the year while the team doing practice runs before a race on the national circuit in Syracuse, N.Y., when an engine problem stopped Trey's Sea-Doo cold.
Roush had stayed in Charleston to work on another boat for the team and was not at the race, leaving Trey and Cameron to try to fix the problem. The engine problem resulted in a small explosion and the brothers received first-degree burns and singed off their eyebrows and eyelashes.
They raced anyway, earning the nickname the "Flame Brothers."
While the brothers laugh about it now, Roush still gets choked up.
"He got burned and was still willing to get Drew ready to race when I wasn't there. When things don't go the way he wants them to he doesn't whine or cry about it, he gets back up and races again," Roush said.
The team plans to spend the winter months preparing for the 2009 racing season, working together to make bigger waves and bring more attention to the state.
"Every year you want to get better," Trey said.
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at or 304-348-4850.