1976 Seafair Trophy
Lake Washington, Seattle WA, August 8, 1976
Hydro Racing Is the Pits
Sayres’ Site Swarming With Pin-Swappers
By Walt Parietti
Hydroplane racing is for the young at heart.
Or at least it seemed that way in the suddenly populated Stanley Sayres’ pits yesterday. Youngsters, with blankets spread on the lawn, reenacted their annual routine — swapping hydro buttons.
Some came with long, flat artist-type cases opened wide to display their wares.
Doug Cleaver, 16, Burien entrepreneur, traded a couple of his prized pins. "One was worth $6," he said — for a pit pass. Cleaver has been to every Seattle race since 1969 and this year made it to Pasco, also.
"It wasn’t that good. They didn’t have that many people selling pins over there," he said.
The Sayres pits are a different story. Pins dated throughout Seattle’s 24-year hydro history are available — for a price. Some, though, go as cheap as a quarter.
Seth Robertson, who lives in the University District, said his top sale item was an Oberto pin. It went for $12, "because it had ‘beef jerky’ on it instead of ‘Super Salami’ like most of them. That’s not my main line," the 16-year-old, explained. "I make these little boat pins that I sell for $5."
The Oh Boy! Oberto, driven and owned by Bill Wurster, is campaigning its second season.
Totally new to the Seattle water scene are Ron and Suzie Snyder, of Piqua, Ohio. They are here only because of Jim Bride, president of Lynnwood Equipment, and sponsor of the "renamed" Miss Madison, which will run here as Miss Lynnwood.
"The Miss Madison was not coming West because of a lack of funds," Suzie said.
"Billy and Cyndee Schumacher got busy and introduced us — by phone—to Bride. He talked to the Madison people and Saturday, a week before the Pasco race, everything was confirmed and we were on our way."
Snyder is in his first year of driving the Miss Madison, and doing an excellent job of it. "The Madison is known as a consistent boat," says Suzie, his wife, who thoroughly en-joys boat racing and is a personable public-relations person, unwittingly, for the team.
"Ron has driven limited boats, mainly 280s, for 10 years. He got into unlimiteds last year in the U-56, owned by Gene Kenning, who’s out of Piqua, too. Ron only drove it the last two races of the season.
"There were seven or eight people who applied for the job driving the Miss Madison this year and Ron was lucky enough to get it. He didn’t have many credits because to be a national champ, even in a limited boat, you have to spend a lot of money on your boat."
So how has Snyder done on the unlimited trail? Suzie said:
"In Madison he won his first heat and we finished third in the race. At Detroit he got fourth in the Gold Cup. Then last week at Pasco, under the Miss Lynnwood banner, he took a third.
"Ron would like the boat to go faster — there’s plenty left to do in the engine — but the hull design needs some drastic changing. The Madison owners are hoping to build another hull or buy a new boat for next season."
Bride, enjoying his first involvement with the sport, said the "driver usually keeps the trophy, but Ron gave me the third-place cup from Pasco to put in my office. I sent the money we won to the people in Madison.
"I think having the boat is good for our community. If nothing else we’ll end up with Lynnwood and Madison as a couple of sister cities. I think they’re both about the same size."
"One of my customers in Anchorage was so excited about my involvement that he said he wanted to come down for the race Sunday," Bride added. "We’ve gotten fan mail at the office, too. I know there are a lot of businessmen in the Seattle area who’d be tickled to death to be involved.
"It’s too had we can’t have the Gold Cup here every year. We could use more community spirit to back up the sport. Did you see what Jake O’Shaughnessey’s did, raising $8,500?
"In Detroit I understand the policemen donate their time for the race."
Suzie added, "In the East the crane drivers work free. They figure it’s a privilege just to get a good seat for the race.
"This is the first trip to Seattle for us. The combination of water and mountains is so beautiful. Hopefully we’ll be back next year. It all depends on what Ron is doing."
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