Kenmore residents brave the rain to watch slough races
Bobby Stinson, 70, sat on a chair on the dock at Log Boom Park Saturday, eagerly waiting for the boat race to start.
“I am a lifetime resident of Bothell and grew up watching the boat races back in the day,” he said. “It was more exciting than the Fourth of July. I can’t believe it’s back.”
The Kenmore Hydroplane Cup event returned last weekend after a 38-year hiatus. More than 1,000 people attended the event held at the north end of Lake Washington at the newly remodeled Kenmore Boat Launch. The original race, known as the slough race, was popular between 1928 and 1976 and drew crowds of spectators between 40,000 and 80,000. The race stopped after more and more houses were built along the river and the waters changed.
“I came here with my dad when I was younger to watch the races and I remember thinking it was the coolest thing in the world,” said Herb Ahten, a Kenmore resident. “I’m so excited it’s back and I hope it becomes an annual tradition again.”
The timed exhibition race featured a variety of boats including two cylinder and three-and-up cylinder boats, Native American war canoes, junior hydroplanes and RC hydroplane demonstration. Competitors will race one or two boats at a time up the Sammamish River, navigate around the challenging oval course and back to the Kenmore Boat Launch. The racing features competitors from the Seattle Outboard Association.
Stinson said he came to support his friend Dave Culley, who would be racing a hydro boat.
“Dave won the last three years and it’s great to see him out here on the waters again,” Stinson said. “This is exactly the kind of event Kenmore has been waiting for.”
Around 25 boats raced in the event. There was an opening ceremony sharing the history of the hydroplane cup and boats racing on the water throughout the afternoon. There were youth and celebrity hydroplane racers, a Hydroplane and Vintage Yacht Show and an awards ceremony.
“I am so glad to see an event like this in Kenmore that brings the community together,” said Joann Youngs, Bothell resident. “We need more things like this going on in this sleepy city; I think everyone agrees as there are so many people out here in the cold and the rain with smiles on their faces.”
“I think this event went amazing, it was just like a masterpiece,” said Gaul Culley, event organizer. “Everyone was so excited about it and I definitely want to thank my community sponsors for making this possible.”
There is another event coming up as a part of the Kenmore Hydroplane Cup. There will be a lecture on the history of the slough race by Steve Greaves from 10:30 a.m. to noon on April 12 at the Old Redmond School House Community Center presented by www.redmondhistoricalsociety.org.