Trophies featured at this year's H1 Unlimited annual Champion's - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Trophies featured at this year's H1 Unlimited annual Champion's Gala

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President Coolage with owner Delphine Dodge Cromwell in 1927 President Coolage with owner Delphine Dodge Cromwell in 1927
President Eisenhower with winner Bill Muncey President Eisenhower with winner Bill Muncey
President Jerald Ford with the cup President Jerald Ford with the cup
President Truman in 1938 President Truman in 1938
Presidents Cup Presidents Cup

SEATTLE, WA – Three hydroplane racing trophies are at the NBC Right Now studio on Thursday.

NHL has the Stanley Cup. IndyCar has the Borg-Warner Trophy.  America’s Cup has the Auld Mug.  H1 Unlimited hydroplane racing has the Gold Cup –the oldest motor sports trophy, awarded since 1904.  Hydroplane racing has another nearly 100 year-old trophy, the President’s Cup which will in in the Pacific Northwest for the first time since its inception in 1926. Both will be on display this Saturday during the 53rd annual Champion's Gala at the Red Lion Hotel in Kennewick, Wash.

For the first time since 1977, the President’s Cup race was held last August on the Detroit River.  The race winner, Andrew Tate and the U-9 "Les Schwab Tires" team will be presented the award during Saturday's festivities.

Although the event has been sold out for several weeks fans and history buffs will have an opportunity to view the trophy during the event’s social hour between 5:00-6:00 pm in the Clearwater room.

"The award has a deep history, and other than the Gold Cup, this is the most beautiful trophy I have seen," said Charlie Grooms, acting chairman of H1 Unlimited. Grooms said you get close and examine the detail and think about its history, it will take your breath away.

In 1926, William A. Rogers convinced his fellow Maryland Corinthian Yacht Club members to host the President’s Cup race and persuaded President Calvin Coolidge to sponsor the trophy.

The President’s Cup was contested until World War II broke out and came back into prominence five years later in 1946.  From 1946 to 1977 most of the President’s Cup races were contested on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., adjacent to Hains Point, except for a few pre-war races that were run in Annapolis, Maryland. 

From 1978 to 2016 the race again was put on hiatus until last year when the President’s Cup was moved to the Detroit River.

The nation’s Chief Executive traditionally presents the trophy to the winner. The President that demonstrated the keenest interest in the race was undoubtedly Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose love for aquatics is well known.

President Roosevelt watched the 1938 race from the deck of the Presidential yacht “Potomac.” The President was so thrilled by the finish he sent for the drivers of the first and second-place boats (Theo Rossi of “Alagi” and George Seay of “Miss Manteo”) so that he could congratulate them in person for their good sportsmanship and excellent driving.

In addition to Roosevelt, other Presidents that have presented the trophy include Calvin Coolige, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Jerry Ford.  H1 Unlimited is working with government officials to have the current President present the trophy to the U-9 “Les Schwab Tires” race team at the White House.

(The large silver trophy in the main picture is the Martini Rossi H1 Unlimited Series High Points Trophy.)