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What's In a Number?

posted Mar 16, 2016, 10:42 PM by Gary Burtka   [ updated Mar 16, 2016, 10:58 PM ]

Folks are often curious about the number behind a racer or athlete, knowing that for most racers their number typically has some significance. A birthday, favorite number, lucky number, or a racer that they were a fan of; the reasons for why someone chooses a certain number can range far and wide. In my 20-plus year career racing jet skis, I have used only 3 numbers. 

995 - Was the first number that I selected in Wyandotte in 1993. I was instructed to select a 3-digit number. In those days all Top 50 numbers were for earned rankings. 51-999 were otherwise based on first come, first served. I chose 995 because I was set to graduate high school in 1995, so 995 it was. I ran #995 from 1993 - 1997 & 2006 on the race course.

13 - After a long hiatus from racing ( except for Sport in 2006 ), In 2009 I came back out in Vintage running the number 13 in honor of my Grandfather, after his passing; his lucky number was 13. By 2009 two-digit numbers were no longer based on ranking so I was able to claim it. I ran #13 from 2009 - 2012.

93 - Going into the 2013 season, I decided I wanted my number to identify more with my personal brand. Being a bit of an old schooler, I never felt quite right with an unearned top 50 number (feeling it improperly represented me - either positively or negatively) and came out with 93. 1993 was the year I first started racing, and has forever changed my life. I have been running #93 since 2013 and have no plans to change that.