This is very exciting. Ever since I moved to the Northwest I’ve heard about the Sammamish Slough Race that used to be held. Well, it’s coming back thanks to the energetic Gaul Culley. There’s a good article on it by Sarah Kehoe in the Bothell Reporter. I spoke to Ms. Culley about the event and she stressed how dramatically the community has pulled together to make this happen and available free to both participants and spectators. It wasn’t a singlehanded effort, as her team includes Race Commissioner and longtime Seattle Outboard Member Jan Shaw, Marketing and Sponsorship Director Brent Hall, and Logistics and Volunteer Manager Megan Tanner.
We’ll get more detail in the coming days, but in the meantime here’s the official press release and promotional artwork:
On Saturday, April 5, the Kenmore Hydroplane Cup event will take place at Log Boom Park and along the Sammamish River after a 38-year hiatus. The event will be held on the north end of Lake Washington at the newly remodeled Kenmore Boat Launch. The timed exhibition race will feature 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.
“We are expecting about 25 boats for this event,” said local artist and event promoter, Gaul Culley. “Numbers could easily increase based on the overwhelming response we have received from the boating community.”
The opening ceremony will start at 10:00 a.m. with races starting at 11:00 a.m. and running throughout the afternoon. The opening ceremony will feature a musical performance by 4Culture grant award recipient Rulon Brown. The race will be announced by race legend, Chip Hanauer. The event will also feature youth and celebrity hydroplane racers, a Hydroplane and Vintage Yacht Show and an awards ceremony at 5:00 p.m. Admission is free for the event. The best viewing areas for the race are Log Boom Park, Kenmore Boat Launch and the public dock at Harbor Village Marina.
“We are excited for the return of the race exhibition to Kenmore,” said Mayor David Baker. “This event not only signifies history, but showcases the future of Kenmore as the City works diligently to improve access to the water and create more recreational opportunities for the entire community to enjoy.”
The original race, known as the “Slough Race,” was wildly popular between 1928 and 1976 and drew crowds of spectators between 40,000 and 80,000. The idea to reintroduce the event came last year after local artist Culley organized the Sammamish Slough Race exhibit at Kenmore City Hall. The exhibit, funded in part by King County arts organization 4Culture, drew hundreds of racing fans and sparked interest in the hydroplane race.
“We hope the Kenmore Hydroplane Cup becomes an annual event,” said Culley. “Our future goal is to expand viewing areas along the course for spectators to enjoy the race up close.”
On Wednesday, April 2, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., 192 Brewery will host an opening reception featuring iconic historical photos of the Slough Race by late photographer Bob Carver. This opening precedes a slide show presentation and discussion of the historic race at the Kenmore Heritage Society’s meeting from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Kenmore Community Club.
The Kenmore Hydroplane Cup is the result of efforts by event organizer Gaul Culley, City of Kenmore, Seattle Outboard Association, 4Culture, Seafair Boat Club, and Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum. For more information, visit www.kenmorewa.gov.
Thank you to the following businesses for your support: Seattle Watersports, Plywood Supply, 192 Brewery, Kenmore Air, Mister T’s Trophies, North Lake Marina, Wayne Golf Course, Espresso Works, Woodshed Embroidery, Alexa’s Cafe, Classic Yacht Association, and Harbour Village Marina.
About Kenmore, Washington
Located at the northern tip of Lake Washington, Kenmore is an economically healthy city in King County where innovative businesses soar without limits. Kenmore is building an innovation hub to attract and support health care and technology start-ups, as well as help existing multigenerational businesses seeking to expand. As the best-kept secret in the Puget Sound, Kenmore has many benefits: family-friendly neighborhoods; abundant parks and natural spaces; a variety of cultural activities; award-winning public school system; access to higher education; and the finest close-in medical care. The city’s central location and ease of access by highway, seaplane or boat, make it an easy place to live and work. For more information, visit: www.kenmorewa.gov.