TRI-CITIES, Wash - The roar of the turbines and some racing - albeit an exhibition - has graced the Columbia River on the Friday of race weekend for the last few years. But maybe not this year. The Dash for Cash may not be part of the Water Follies weekend plans.
It's not for lack of trying or lack of wanting, but rather lack of sponsorship. The Dash is a chance for fans to see some racing before the heats start on Saturday. For the drivers, it's a chance to earn a few extra bucks for the weekend. The purse for the Dash for Cash has been in the $4,000 range. That prize money came from the sponsor. This year, no sponsor has yet stepped forward to provide the prize money or purchase the sponsorship package.
The unlimited hydroplane races and the entire Water Follies weekend were at risk this year due to lack of funds. Reserves from previous years had been depleted and it was only because of some hard work on the part of the Board of Directors and past Water Follies volunteers that the races are on for 2007. The hard work included some deep budget cuts and securing Con Agra (Lamb Weston) as a title sponsor, something that hadn't happened since Budweiser pulled out several years ago.
But without a sponsor stepping forward, there's no cash available for the Dash... and no racing on Friday.