ABRA: The state of the sport is strong - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

ABRA: The state of the sport is strong

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Seattle, WASH - At the American Boat Racing Association's annual meeting in Seattle, Dr. Ken Muscatel and Sam Cole announced that Unlimited Hydroplane racing is showing a positive outlook.

"The best year of competition this sport has ever seen, " said Muscatel, "from top to bottom."  And that was last year.  This year, he said "new teams and new hulls."  Currently under construction are a new U-6, U-21, and the newest entry from Nate Brown, the U-17.

A new U-37 is expected to be launched in 2008.  "Ken Muscatel is building a new house," said Muscatel.

Nationally, there will be a minimum of ten boats planned at every single race, said Muscatel.  "As many as 15, or more are possible on the West Coast swing," he said.

Financially, the circuit didn't lose money last year.  But, said Muscatel, it's a "very tight business.  We have to be efficient and self-sustaining."

Carson International has been hired to put on TV programs through its company Focused TV.  They will also be trying to find national sponsorships for the programs and the circuit.

Bob Hughes, U-6 team owner rep, said "We're enthused about the meetings.  We're all on the same page, wanting to do the same thing."

Muscatel talked about new initiatives for website development.  The ABRA website has been handled admirably by a volunteer staff, but it needs to the next level to reach out to new fans.

"The problem with this kind of organization," Muscatel said, "is that we all have regular jobs."  He set a goal of finding a full-time director who can concentrate their efforts and develop national marketing contracts.

Muscatel said the meetings brought no major changes to the rule book.  "Nothing dramatic," he said.  "We're pleased with the overall structure."

"It was one of those trying years in the sport," said ABRA Director Sam Cole.  "But we pulled it off."

"Boats are going faster than ever," said Cole.  "We brought racing back to the sport."