SPONSOR ALERT: Shilo Inn Suites Hotel teams up with Unlimited Light Hydroplanes in Tri-Cities - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

SPONSOR ALERT: Shilo Inn Suites Hotel teams up with Unlimited Light Hydroplanes in Tri-Cities

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The latest sponsorship being announced by the Unlimited Light Hydroplane Racing Association (ULHRA) makes Shilo Inn the Official Lodging of the Unlimited Lights at the Thunder Cup. In about 90 days, July 24-26, 2009 the TriCities (Richland/Kennewick/Pasco) area will host a full weekend of festivities and hydroplane racing as it has for the past 44 years. Unlimited Light hydroplane teams will be arriving in the area mid-week coming directly from the Radio Waves Regatta on Flathead Lake in Polson, Montana. TriCities will be race number three of the five-race Gauntlet (five races and one exhibition event in six weeks) for the ULHRA teams. The Gauntlet is an intense marathon of boat races beginning in Chamberlain/Oacoma SD, followed by the next weekend at Polson, Montana. After TriCities, the teams go on to Seafair in Seattle. The next weekend sees an exhibition event in Kelowna BC and then Silverdale Thunder in Silverdale, Washington August 15-16 wraps up the Gauntlet. Weary racing crews will welcome comfortable beds and hot showers in beautifully appointed rooms waiting for them at Shilo Inn Suites Hotel in Richland, Washington. The Shilo Inn overlooks the spectacular Columbia River adjacent to the Columbia Point Golf Course.

Before the TriCities racing even begins, Shilo's contribution to the event will be felt. On Thursday, July 23rd, the hotel's seasonal pool will undergo a temporary transformation to ULHRA capsule training headquarters. Capsule training is a mandatory process for which all drivers must be certified. During this test hydro drivers are strapped into a mock hydroplane capsule in the swimming pool. The capsule is rotated and inverted, simulating the disorentation of a hydroplane accident situation. The driver then must go through the surprisingly complicated process of extracting him or herself from the submerged canopy, involving removing the steering wheel, undoing latches, opening the canopy lid and swimming out all while upside down in the water. Of course, in this case Safety personnel are just feet away to make sure all goes well. During the Shilo sponsored capsule training on July 23rd, media and other local personalities will be invited to attend either as spectators or experience the actual process of becoming "capsule certified".

Brian Kreitzer, General Manager, Shilo Inn Richland, Washington has indicated he plans to be among the first in line to get capsule certified. Certification and a valid drivers physical are some of the first steps to becoming a hydroplane driver. So will we see Kreitzer racing next year? Kreitzer says that's not likely, however he went on to say, "The Tri-ities is an exciting place to live and visit. We have pleasant warm weather, superb wineries, challenging golf courses and the area is a sporting paradise, with water sports like the hydroplane racing, fishing derbies and organized sporting events and activities. We are glad to help with the promotion of the area and the safety of the sport of Hydroplane Racing."  

The hydroplanes will hit the water on the Columbia River with testing July 24 and all the racing action July 25 and 26. For more information on the race, visit www.waterfollies.com