Throwback Thursday: Water Follies made changes after riot 30 yea - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Throwback Thursday: Water Follies made changes after riot 30 years ago

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Throwback Thursday: 2017 Water Follies marks 30 years since the infamous Pasco riot during boat races in 1987. After that, Water Follies began to change into the family friendly event its known for today.


PASCO, Wash. (AP) - Police in riot gear used tear gas to break up a disturbance early Sunday when 1,500 to 2,000 youths in town to watch hydroplane races threw bottles and rocks at police officers.

A similar disturbance in Kelowna, British Columbia, resulted in 100 arrests among people who had come to town for a regatta festival, officials there said.

Pasco Police Chief Don Francis said the young people were drinking beer and loitering in parking lots at one of the town's main intersections when they started the melee at about 3 a.m.

Officers called for help from the Benton and Franklin County Sheriff's Departments, the Kennewick and Richland Police Departments and the Washington State Patrol.

Francis said police in full riot gear advanced toward the crowd, throwing tear gas grenades and finally dispersing the teenagers after about an hour and a half.

About a dozen youths were arrested, he said. Charges will include malicious mischief and drunken and disorderly conduct, he added.

Francis estimated that about 90 percent of the crowd was from out of town for the annual Columbia Cup unlimited hydroplane race on the nearby Columbia River. Qualifying was held Friday and Saturday, and the race was held Sunday.

The crowds usually do not get so rowdy, he said. But this time some business windows were broken and the streets were littered with broken glass and trash.

One youth was bitten by a police dog, and was treated at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital before being booked into jail, Francis said.

One deputy was overcome by tear gas and was treated at the scene, Francis said.

Meanwhile, north of the Canadian border in Kelowna, police said a crowd of several thousand people, mostly teens and young adults, began taunting police and throwing beer bottles and rocks Saturday night after officers tried to arrest a man for disorderly conduct.

It was the second straight year violence has erupted during the city's annual regatta. There was no immediate damage estimate.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said officers arrested about 100 people, but declined to specify what charges would be filed. As many as 30 people, including three police officers, suffered minor injuries.

The annual regatta, marking its 81st anniversary this year with record attendance, attracts thousands of people to the city on Okanagan Lake for water-oriented activities, a parade and other events.