1910 New Year's Day Races
Portland, Oregon, January 1, 1910

Contest to Advertise Portland’s Mild Winter—Red Arrow, Happy Heinie’s Opponent

Entries for the New Year’s day motor boat races, to be held by the Willamette Motor Boat Club, are coming in fast and present indications are that the list will be much larger than expected.

The object of the race on New Year’s day is to advertise the mild climate of Oregon, to let Eastern people know that Florida is not the only place where motor boat races may be held in the middle of Winter.

No entries will be received after Friday evening, December 31. The races will start from the judges’ boat to be anchored in the middle of the river at a point opposite Yamhill street, and will be run over a two-mile course, from the starting point around the east pier of the Steel bridge, finishing again at Yamhill street. The races may be seen from any of the docks between the Morrison and Steele bridges.

The feature of the day will be a challenge scratch race for the Scripp cup, donated by Charles Hays. The undefeated Happy Heinie will try to hold her title as the fastest 25-foot motor boat on the Coast against the Red Arrow, a new 25-foot boat owned by Joe Michael, of Wilsonville. This boat is expected to make 25 miles an hour.

Milton Smith, of Rainier, owner of the Happy Heinie, and Joe Michael, owner of the Red Arrow, will go to considerable expense in bringing their boats to Portland. The Red Arrow will have to be taken through the locks at Oregon City and the Happy Heinie probably will be brought from Rainier on one of the river boats, as at this time of year the Columbia is rather rough for small boats.

Following are the entries already in:

(Transcribed from The Morning Oregonian, Dec. 31, 1909, p. 12.)

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Motor Craft Will Strive for Speed Prizes Today
Chief Trophy is Scripp Cup, for Which Undefeated Happy Heinie
Will Contest With Red Arrow Near 25-Mile Speed

Fifteen speed craft will participate this afternoon in the New Year’s motorboat races, to be given by the Willamette Motorboat Club. Arrangements for the meet are completed to the minutest detail, and it is expected that the most successful in the history of motorboating in Portland.

The racing committee in charge of the whole programme consists of G. Fleming, George Kinnear, Dr. W. V. Spencer, D. N. Mecklein and S. M. Myers. R. M. Myers will act as starter.

Both the start and finish of the race will be at a point opposite Yamhill street, and the course will extend down the river to the Steel bridge, the east pier of the Steel bridge being used as the turning point of the course. Ample opportunity will be afforded spectators to view the races from any of the three bridges or from the intervening banks and wharves. The events will start at 2:30 P.M.

Arrangements have been made to have the river properly patrolled by harbor officers, so that there will be no possible chance of accident or collision. All boats but those participating in the races will be required to keep off the race course.

In the big race of the afternoon, Milton Smith’s Happy Heinie, heretofore undefeated, will defend her title as the fastest 25-foot boat on the Coast, against the new boat, the Red Arrow, belonging to Joe Michael, of Wilsonville. The latter boat is already the champion of the upper Willamette River. Both craft are capable of making 25 miles an hour. The trophy for this race is the Scripp cup, donated by Clarence Heyes.

With good weather. A record crowd is expected to witness the races from the bridges and the wharves and docks along the course. It is likely also that the course will be lined with small boats and launches. The event is unusual in that motorboat races have never before been held in the middle of Winter in this part of the country.

(Transcribed from The Morning Oregonian, Jan. 1, 1910, sect. IV p. 7)

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First New Year’s Day River Contest Draws Throng Despite Chill
Red Arrow
Detained Up River, Feature Event Called Off
Wrong Handicap Given to One
Class B Victor

For the first time in Portland’s history, New Year’s motorboat races were held yesterday afternoon on the Willamette River. Thousands of spectators defied the chilly wind to watch the races from the bridges and wharves, and the greatest interest was shown in the antics of the little speed craft.

The race course extended from a point opposite Yamhill street to the Steel bridge, a distance of one mile. The turn at the Steel bridge was made around the east pier. Two races, two miles in length, and one four-mile race were run.

The heralded feature event of the meet could not be held, as the Red Arrow, which was to have raced the Happy Heinie in a scratch event for possession of the Scripps Trophy cup, offered by Clarence Heyes, was detained up the river. Considerable disappointment was felt both by the promoters of the race and the spectators on account of the failure of the Red Arrow to appear. However, there was enough interest in the races completed to make up for the loss.

In the free-for-all handicap race, the Van, owned by P. Van Atta, was awarded first place, although the White Arrow, owned by Johnson Bros., was the first to finish. This was so decided because the White Arrow ran in 1 minute and 30 seconds less time than in a previous race, and therefore exceeded her handicap. In the first race of the afternoon the White Arrow had stopped about a minute at the north end of the course to repair disabled steering gear, and then had come in third in the race. The judges had not known of this, and had gauged the handicap in the free-for-all on the basis of the White Arrow’s time in the first race. The owners of the White Arrow would not agree to a proposal of the judges to run the race over again with the Van at a later date, so the decision was given in favor of the Van. The Van was awarded the Scripps cup.

The Happy Heinie, owned by Milton Smith, of Rainier, started in the four-mile event as the scratch entry, while the White Arrow had a handicap of two miles, or half the distance. The Happy Heinie, capable at any time of making 25 miles an hour, started off in fine form, and apparently, even with the tremendous handicap to overcome, would have won the race easily, had she not been disabled while finishing the first lap, by the breaking of a coupling in the shaft. She was towed back.

In the two-mile Class C race, the Van won handily in 8:18 with a lead of 200 feet over the Alta. The White Arrow finished a close third in this race.

Dr. Jack Yates, in his Billikin, finished first in the two-mile Class B race. His time was 8:23 3-5. The Coxey, owned by R. F. Cox, with a large handicap to overcome, came in second in a running time of 7:15 3-5. The Neptune also entered in this race but was unable to finish on account of engine troubles.

During the races, Archie McKenzie, a youth, was obliged to take a New Year’s swim. His canoe, from which he was viewing the races, tipped over and threw him into the river. McKenzie had on a long overcoat, and trying to move to the other end of the canoe, his feet became entangled in the garment. When he tried to release himself he caused the craft to lurch and fell headlong into the stream. He went down with a pipe in his mouth and when he came to the surface, the pipe was still in position. He was rescued by a nearby launch.

The judges of the races were N. A. King, Dr. F. Q. Freiberger and Dr. C. E. Brown. Leonard M. Meyers acted as starter and timer and was assisted by P. W. Lee. In the absence of Commodore Kelly, Vice-Commodore Kinnear had charge of the races. The launch Mountain Maid was used as the judges’ boat.

The result of the races were:

(Transcribed from The Sunday Oregonian, Jan. 2, 1910, sect. IV p. 7)

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New Years Day Races at Portland
By James B. Welch

A large and enthusiastic crowd gathered on the wharves and bridges Saturday afternoon, January 1st, to see the first motor boat races ever witnessed in Portland in midwinter. The Willamette River was dotted with the speed boats and the greatest interest was taken in the day’s sport by participants as well as spectators

The race course extended from the north side of the steel bridge up the river to a point just opposite the foot of Yamhill street, which distance covers a good mile. While making the turn the launches used the east pier of the steel bridge. During the day, one four-mile, and two other races of two miles each were run, but the biggest race of the day could not be pulled off. Red Arrow, owned by Joe Michaels, which was to run Happy Heinie in a scratch race for possession of the Scripps trophy cup, put up by Co, Heyes, was for some reason detained up the river and was unable to contest, causing considerable disappointment to both spectators and participants. The races mentioned above, however, proved so interesting to the crowd that their disappointment was almost forgotten and by the close of the day everybody went home happy.

Van owned by P. Van Datta was awarded first place in the free-for-all handicap, although Jonson Brothers’ boat White Arrow came in first. But as she ran in one minute and thirty seconds less than she did in a previous race, and therefore exceeded her handicap, first place was decided in favor of the Van. The judges did not know, however, that a disabled steering gear caused the White Arrow to stop about a minute at the north end of the course and that she had to repair same which was the reason for the difference in her time in the first race, and they therefore gauged the handicap on the free-for-all on the same basis as the time made in the first race by White Arrow, which of course caused some trouble. But the owners of White Arrow would not agree to run the race over with the Van at a later date, as was proposed by the judges, so the decision was made in favor of the Van which is now the proud possessor of the Scripps cup.

Happy Heinie, owned by Milton Smith, of Rainier, Oregon, started scratch in the four-mile race while a two-mile handicap or half the distance, was given White Arrow. Happy Heinie made a fine start and stood a good chance of winning as she is capable of making twenty-five miles an hour any time, but while finishing the first lap a coupling broke in the shaft. Even with the tremendous handicap to overcome she would have easily beaten had not the accident happened, but of course as it was she had to be towed back decidedly disabled.

In the Class C race of two miles, Van, Alta and White Arrow ran. Van secured first place in 8:12 with a 200-foot lead over Alta and White Arrow brought up the rear being a close third in this race. Billikin, owned and operated by Dr. Jack Yates with Ray Jameson at the engine, finished in 8:24 2-5, being first in the Class B two-mile race. R. F. Cox’s boat Coxey overcame a large handicap and came in second in a running time of 7:15 3-5. Neptune entered this race but her engineer was having trouble with her engine and was unable to finish on that account. Archie McKenzie who was viewing the races from a canoe, while trying to shift his position to one of a more comfortable nature, became entangled in a rope in the canoe and after making a few desperate efforts to recover his balance finally plunged overboard and dropped out of sight for a second but upon coming to the surface was quickly picked up by a nearby launch, and when he was on his feet once more, discovered that the pipe he had in his mouth when he went down, was still tightly gripped in his teeth. No other accident occurred during the remainder of the day.

The judges acting for the races were: N. A. King, Dr. F. Q. Freiberger and Dr. C. B. Brown. Leonard N. Meyers acted as starter and P. W. Lee and Forrest Smitson as timers. Vice Commodore Kinnear had charge of the races in the absence of Commodore George J. Kelly. Through the kindness of R. R. King the judges occupied the launch Mountain Maid during the afternoon.

(Transcribed from Pacific Motor Boat, Feb. 1910, pp. 20-21)

[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page --LF]

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