Columbia Park Transforms for Boat Race Weekend - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Columbia Park Transforms for Boat Race Weekend

KENNEWICK, Wash. -  Columbia Park is undergoing a makeover for the Rumble on the River which starts tomorrow.   From vendors to racers everyone is preparing for the biggest event held in the Tri-Cities all year.  

Workers started at 6 o'clock this morning and will not finish till after 9 o'clock tonight.  

Speedy Marin has been working down at the park all day.  He said there is, "a lot to do in a short period of time... getting all the cranes situated squared off, getting the trailers in getting the steps up. It's all labor intensive."

With the event starting in just hours, workers were plugging along and trying to get everything done. 

Kennewick City employee, Terry Smith has been driving a tractor trailer around trying to make sure all the gravel is even for the boats.  He said things are going smoothly, "everything seems to be working just fine so far."

Volunteers said preparation is two days ahead of schedule.  They have double the amount of volunteers this year.

Collin Mertens is 18-years-old and has been volunteering for five years.   He said, "We're not going to be sweating bullets this years as we have in the past."

Competitors are putting the final touches on their boats.  Crew workers said they are ready to race, "just check everything over.  We are pretty prepared.  I mean really pretty much ready right now."

Many people were looking around and watching as Columbia Park transforms into a hydro plane hot spot today.

Volunteer Kevin Smith said, "We had people showing up yesterday morning, wanting to get in. The die hards, we call them hydro heads."

"It kind of gets in your blood and there's nothing like a rooster tail at 190 miles an hour going up the Columbia river."

There is still a lot of work to do, more safety checks to the boats, more vendors are arriving and more fans making their way to the Tri-Cities as the 2006 Rumble on the River gets underway.

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