Volunteers rapidly transforming Howard Amon Park in preparation - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Volunteers rapidly transforming Howard Amon Park in preparation for Richland Regatta

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RICHLAND, WA. -- A team of volunteers is getting everything ready for some boat racing on the Columbia River. The inaugural Richland Regatta starts Friday and there's a lot for these volunteers to do in a short amount of time.

After months and months of planning, it's time to start getting Howard Amon Park all set up and ready to go. The Richland Regatta is about to become a reality. 

"That's when it's surreal," Kevin Smith from the Northwest Power Boat Association said. "You know we've talked about it, we've planned for it, we've gotten everything ready and then today is the day when we put it all into motion."

About 30 people are volunteering their time to set up everything from the beer garden to the docks and temporary fencing. And it's all moving very quickly Thursday. 

"Would you say you guys have a lot of work to do?" we asked.

"We do," Kevin replied. "We have a tremendous amount because this is a one day set up. So between today, setting up and Sunday in the evening tearing down, we have two full days packed into one."

But probably the most important set up, is on the water. We rode along with Kieth, who was in charge of tracking the rivers depth as the referees for the race dropped anchor for the buoys outlining the track the racers will compete on.

"You have to have an anchor that's big enough to hold the buoy," Kevin said. "We have a good current in the river here especially around the bend. So it has to hold it, try to keep the line for the racers so they have a solid course to go around."

Finding the exact spot to place each buoy, is no easy task. 

"For setting the course you have GPS coordinates," Kevin told us. "So we can actually set them on GPS, have our inner course and then you just have an out of bounds marker on the outside of the course."

Organizers say everything is coming together for a world class racing experience this weekend. 

"With graduation in town, it gives somebody something else to do," Kevin said. "You get done with graduation, what do you want to do? Come watch some boat racing on us."

Whatever happens during the regatta, it will definitely be a new experience for everyone. 

The regatta is free to the public but if you want a little bit more access at the pits, a pit pass is $10 for the day and $20 for the weekend. 

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