Richland Regatta boat races start this Friday at Howard Amon Par - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Richland Regatta boat races start this Friday at Howard Amon Park

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RICHLAND, WA. -- We've been telling you about it for months and this weekend, the Richland Regatta is holding its inaugural racing event on the Columbia River.  

Do you find yourself already counting down the days to Water Follies this summer? Well you can scratch some of that boat racing itch this weekend when a brand new racing event comes to the Tri-Cities. On Friday, the waters outside Howard Amon Park will turn into the site for the Richland Regatta. 

The roar of boat racing is returning to the Columbia River a little bit earlier this year. 

"We're standing right at the start finish line," John Culver, President of the Northwest Power Boat Association said. "Right here will be the scorers clock, our scorers, timers everything right here."

The unlimiteds aren't hitting the waters this weekend. But among the 60 racers are some of the world's best. 

"You'll have Jimmy Shane down here driving, J. Micheal Kelly driving, Jeff Bernard," Culver told us. 

The Richland Regatta will hold 20 races a day starting Friday at 10 AM. Races will be held all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday until about 5 PM each day. The best news is, the whole event is free to the public! 

"It's going to be neck and neck racing," Culver said. "This is way different because it's a shorter course of course."

Organizers of the Regatta know they can't match the excitement and crowd of Water Follies. Their goal is simply to provide a second, fun racing experience for our area. 

"It's just a great place to race," Culver said. "The whole park is up on a hill. There's not a bad place to stand here and watch a race at all. I think it's going to be a great event and we look forward to do this year after year."

Parking is expected to be tight for the thousands of spectators so arrive early to get a good spot.

Just like we're your station to watch for Water Follies, we're also the station to watch for the Richland Regatta. In fact, we'll be live streaming the races from 2 to 5 every night, Friday, Saturday and Sunday on our website,