Wedding magic at stadium with jet sprint 'family'

By John Cousins, Peter White news@bayofplentytimes co nz

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WEDDED BLISS: Members of New Zealand's motor sports rescue crew provided the guard of honour as newly weds Chris and Lisa Bowman walked to their waiting carriage - a trailer and jet sprint boat.PHOTO/JOHN BORREN
WEDDED BLISS: Members of New Zealand's motor sports rescue crew provided the guard of honour as newly weds Chris and Lisa Bowman walked to their waiting carriage - a trailer and jet sprint boat.PHOTO/JOHN BORREN

A romance that sprung from small-town USA had its remarkable conclusion at the World Jet Sprint Championships in Tauranga yesterday.

Chris Bowman and Lisa Waits-Webb rounded up the closely knit international fraternity of jet sprinters to witness their magic marriage.

All the drivers became the groomsmen and the navigators the bridesmaids in a unique ceremony held against the backdrop of the newly dug waterways in Baypark Stadium.

A solid core of Team USA made sure no one forgot the nationality of the happy couple.

The ceremony was live-streamed to the couple's families in the United States via the internet, with a touching moment when Lisa's father delivered a special videoed message on the trackside big screen.

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Marriage celebrant Christine Grant triumphed over a few technical glitches with the sound system to ensure the ceremony was remembered by all who took part.

"It is a day when you can be as joyous and raucous as you like," she said.

The uniqueness of the occasion was summed up when Mrs Grant said that fate had brought them together to this time and place.

There was a poignant significance in the choice of song during the signing of the wedding papers after the couple had pledged themselves to each other.

You Raise Me Up was one of the songs played during the recent funeral of Mrs Bowman's mother.

The Big Day before the Big Day. Jetsprinters Chris Bowman and Lisa Waits-Webb, from the USA, got married at the Tauranga leg of the World Jetsprint Champs. Photo/John Borren
The Big Day before the Big Day. Jetsprinters Chris Bowman and Lisa Waits-Webb, from the USA, got married at the Tauranga leg of the World Jetsprint Champs. Photo/John Borren

The couple first met 17 years earlier when they were high school students in Fruitland, Idaho, with the relationship blossoming years later followed by an engagement six months ago.

Mr Bowman said the inspiration for the wedding venue was New Zealand Jet Sprint Association president Paul Gaston. His suggestion was enthusiastically taken up by Mr Bowman.

"I am a spur-of-the-moment type of guy," he said.

Mrs Bowman said she did not hesitate in agreeing to be married at the world championships, and the venue was perfect. Jet sprinters were like a big family and it had been special to get married with this family.

Mr Bowman has been involved in jet sprints for 13 years. "The guys from Australia and New Zealand are awesome. To come over here and have four countries in one country for a wedding was kind of cool."

He is the vice-president of the US Sprint Boat Association.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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