It was a cool beautiful 50-degree morning in Manson, Washington Saturday - September 24 and activity at Leffler Field was light at 7:00 AM. Many of the Hydro Fest participants were set up there with their RV's. Most came on Friday and others arrived Saturday morning. Weather wise, Friday did not look encouraging, by Saturday the weather Gods smiled on us!
This was the third year members of the American Power Boat Association
gathered on Lake Chelan for Manson Hydro Fest. The event was sponsored by the Manson Chamber of Commerce as well as many local businesses.
Volunteers were busy Saturday morning blocking off Pedoi Street, setting up pop ups while others volunteers placed buoys on the one mile race course. Race participants were busy preparing their boats for race day. The driver's meeting started at 10:30 with lots of information to cover. Now it was time to launch the boats and begin racing.
There were many great locations to watch the races at no charge but if you wanted to get up close and personal with the boats and crew you could purchase a Pit Pass, allowing one to roam throughout the pits both Saturday and Sunday.
By race time the course was perfect. There was no wind and the temperature 70-degrees. Larger vessels were hoisted in and out of the water by the big cranes. This is the place for a big thank you to Ness Crane and Columbia Crane who volunteered their services. They did a flawless job launching and retrieving the hydros from Lake Chelan. They made it look so easy. Some of the smaller hydros were launch on trailers at the Manson Bay boat ramp.
This event is a huge undertaking, planning and preparation made this a successful event. All volunteers did a great job and the races were on schedule. Race Chairman John Walcker said he could not be more pleased how the weekend turned out. Walcker praised the many volunteers stating there could not have been a race without them. Julie Porter in charge of promotions was also very happy with this event. One thing that really stood out to her was the number of sponsors that actually came to the race and were in the pits with the crews. There were only positive comments from race teams with on person summing it up by saying, "This is good as it gets".
John Walcker on the left
A side note to this story is recognizing the Manson Firefighters Association. They were cooking hamburgers and hotdogs (550 meals were served) to raise funds (by donation) for their Season of Hope. Their efforts provides twenty local families with gift certificates that will make their holiday season special. Manson Fire Station #5 was also giving tours and highlighting equipment used in fighting local fires.
Nine classes of hydros, from 15 horsepower to the Grand Prix, seven liter boats, with 1250 horsepower were schedule in two heats both Saturday and Sunday…..that's a lot of racing! Vessels accumulated national points for the race and several of the national leaders were here in attendance.
View Saturday's GP race
A highlight of this event was watching Wally Johnston, age 68 from Helena Montana drive in his last race after a career of 37 years. And what a way to end a career with finishing first in all four heats of the 5 Liter class. He is high point National Champion in the 5 Liter class. Congratulations Wally!!!!!
All heats started with a four-minute mark. Boats jockeyed for position, then the one minute flag was hoisted and boat tried to get inside position and time their arrival at the starting line…..it was a flying start! Rostertails flew high as the boats entered turn one, everyone strained to see who came out first. All heats went off very well and the water was perfect for the hydro planes.
Visitors to Manson had many options for food and drink with all establishments having a great weekend. The North Shore Café was packed and My Buddy's Place and the Sunset Bar and Grill looked to be doing banner business. Manson boasts 16 wineries, a cider company and a brewery so there was something for everyone. Many crew members came back to Manson at night for fun in the big city. Some attended the Dwight Yoakam concert at Mill Bay casino and others took part in karaoke at My Buddy's Place and the Sunset Bar and Grill. Visitors left our community with good feelings about Manson.
After a full day of racing on Sunday the award ceremony took place at 6:30 with winners given a trophy for their efforts. Here is a list of the winners.
Sports Class (flatbottom)
1st - Mike White, Sedro Wooley
2nd. - Steve Waldo, Discovery Bay, CA.
3rd - Wes Fridell, La Conner
Formula 1 - (tunnel boats)
1st - Mike Nass, Surrey, B.C.
2nd - Larry Shepard, North Bend
3rd - Roland Schoendfeld, Kelona, B.C.
JSH (junior class hydroplanes)
1st - Trey Magood, Puyallup
2nd - Josh Zahn, Issaquah
AXH (12 & up junior hydroplanes)
1st - Ryan Gowin, Kent
2nd - Kiera Margoord, Puyallup
3rd - Tim Mahson, Burien
4th - Jacob Mouldin, Friday Harbor
ASR (9 & up junior runabouts)
1st, 2nd, and 3rd same as the AXH class
4th - Preston Reitz, Pasco
GPS 95 (pro-stock flat bottom racers)
1st - Lenny Baker, Edmonds
2nd - Paul Vissa, Caldwell, ID.
3rd - Mike Waters, Olympia
1st - Gordy Cole, Seattle
2nd - Ed Kelsar, Covington
3rd - Jeff Schneide, Issaquah
1 Litre hydros
1st - Ed Thompson, Fallson, MD and John Bernard, Kent
2nd - John Culver, Kennewick
3rd - Tim Collins, Westland, Michigan and Jim Keller, Bonney Lake
2.5 Litre hydros
1st - Austin Eacrit, Seattle
2nd - Jason Alaskar, Olympia
3rd - Al Thompson, Seaford, Deleware
5 Litre hydros
1st - Wally Johnson, Helena, MT.
2nd - Rochelle Hill, Burlington
3rd - Kurt Myers, Wilson Creek
1st - Keith Nelson, Tacoma
2nd - Dave Hooker, Shelton
Grand Prix hydros
1st - Bob Schellhase, Renton and Greg Hopp, Lake Stevens
2nd - Scott Pierce, Woodinville and Jaimie Nielsen, Gig Harbor
3rd - Larry Linn and Ed Preitar, Olympia
The Manson Chamber of Commerce thanks the boat crews and the many folks that turned out to make this a great event. We look forward to the 4th
Annual Hydro Fest next year!