Tri-Cities awarded H1 Unlimited Hydroplane “Champion’s Gala” - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tri-Cities awarded H1 Unlimited Hydroplane “Champion’s Gala”

Posted: Updated:

SEATTLE, WA – H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Series and the Tri-City Water Follies are excited to announce the 53rd annual H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series “Champion’s Gala” will be held Saturday, February 10, 2018 at the Red Lion Hotel at the Columbia Center. The annual
“Champion’s Gala” celebrates and commemorates the 2017 H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series season and will included the presentation of the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series national championship trophy, the Gar Wood Award, the President’s Cup, Gold Cup and much more. The event marks the first time it
will be held in the Tri-Cities, Washington area since the sport’s inaugural awards presentation in 1964.

The 2018 H1 Unlimited hydroplanes “Champion’s Gala” allow attendees a once in a lifetime chance to mingle and dine with many of the their favorite drivers and participants in a vibrant atmosphere. The cost is $75 per person which includes a sit-down meal prepared by the chefs at Red Lion Hotel’s Nomad Kitchen. The dinner will include 90% of the ingredients sourced from the Pacific Northwest and over half of that is sourced within 100 miles of Tri-Cities. Tickets are available for purchase at or at the Tri-City Water Follies office located at 621 North Gum,
Suite A, Kennewick, Washington during regular business hours.

Fans will have a chance to mingle with the world’s fastest drivers during a cocktail hour prior to the event. J. Michael Kelly who will be in attendance and in July won the HAPO Columbia Cup driving the U-12 “Graham Trucking” hydroplane said “the awards evening is a time when our entire industry, along with our passionate fan base, come together to formally crown a champion and celebrate a memorable season. We are all excited the ‘Champion’s Gala’ will be held in the Tri-Cities and in a way, by holding it in Tri-Cities, it’s our trophy to the fans in the region.”

Ironically, the 53rd Annual Champion’s Gala is also an unofficial kick-off to next year’s 53rd Annual HAPO Columbia Cup weekend held in July. Kathy Powell, Director of the Water Follies, who was instrumental in securing the event said “the Tri-Cities is especially excited to welcome the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane world for this year’s ‘Champion’s Gala.’ We have had a long and successful partnership with H1 Unlimited Hydroplanes and look forward to having fans join us for the unique celebration.”

Dan Hoover, two-time H1 Unlimited National Champion hydroplane crew chief of the U-1 “Miss HomeStreet,” raised in Tri-Cities and attended Richland High School said he can’t wait to celebrate his team’s eighth national championship with his hometown friends and fans. “The ‘Champion’s Gala’ will give me a chance to take time to meet and talk to my hometown fans, something I can’t do much of when we are here racing in the summer.”

Charlie Grooms, Vice Chairman of the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Series said, “ the Tri-Cities has consistently set the stage for a vibrant, exciting Columbia Cup race weekend and when the sport looks back on the season and toasts its newest H1 Unlimited Hydroplane champion, we felt there is no better place than the Tri-Cities to hold the sport’s annual awards.”

The prestige of the sport’s awards grows each year and that trend promises to continue at this year’s February event.

2018 H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series Schedule — June 22-24, Guntersville Lake Hydrofest, Guntersville, Alabama; July 6-8, Indiana Governor’s Cup, Madison, Indiana; July 27-29 HAPO Columbia Cup, Tri-Cities, Washington; August 3-5, Albert Lee Appliance Cup, Seattle, Wash.; August 24-26 Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Gold Cup, Detroit, Michigan; September 14-16, HomeStreet Bank Bayfair, San Diego, California.

H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series — H1 Unlimited ( was founded as a category of the American Power Boat Association’s Unlimited Class of powerboat racing in the United States. Traveling at top speeds of 200 m.p.h. the boats & their drivers race each other on lakes, bays and rivers throughout the U.S. At full speed they are primarily held aloft by a principle of fluid dynamics known as “planing,” with only a tiny fraction of their hull actually touching the water. H1 Unlimited hydroplanes are some times known as unlimited hydroplanes, hydros, or thunderboats. The world’s first sanctioned unlimited hydroplane race was held in 1903 at Queenstown, Ireland and the winning boat only averaged 19.53 m.p.h.

Tri-City Water Follies — Founded in 1966, the Tri-City Water Follies is Eastern Washington’s largest weekend festival held the last weekend in July. The 2018 Columbia Cup will mark the 53rd time the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series have raced on the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington. The Water
Follies lineup includes the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series boat races, Grand Prix West boat races, over the river air-show, kids zone activites, R/C model boat racing and the Miss Tri-Cities Scholarship Pageant.