The Oberto family's involvement with hydroplane racing started with a telethon for Seafair - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

The Oberto family's involvement with hydroplane racing started with a telethon for Seafair

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Larry Oberto shows off the unfinished U-6 hull before the 2006 season Larry Oberto shows off the unfinished U-6 hull before the 2006 season
Art Oberto celebrates his 80th birthday with a U-6 win at Seafair Art Oberto celebrates his 80th birthday with a U-6 win at Seafair

The Oberto involvement with hydroplane racing started back in 1975.  The Oberto Sausage company was a relatively small company and the Seattle race was in financial trouble.

"Seafair was at a point where they were thinking about not doing it anymore," Larry Oberto said.  "They had a big telethon to support the event.  My Dad saw it not only as a way to show support for the race, but to get a bunch of passes for the neighborhood."

From that humble beginning, thus began the Oberto family's involvement with hydroplanes.   That led to sponsorship and, as the exposure grew, so did the company.

"My Dad realized, nationally we now look like a really big company," Oberto said.  "It took our little Mom and Pop shop - we're not that anymore, but we were then - and it put us on the map."

Nobody has unlimited advertising and marketing dollars.  The Oberto company was no exception, so any marketing they did needed to stand out from the rest of the crowd.  "That's what boat racing has always been," he said. 

The relationship has been a match.  The Oberto brand name has been associated with hydroplane racing ever since, including this year's brand new U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison unlimited hydroplane. 

This season, Larry Oberto went to every race site and got to see the interaction between the brand name and real people.    "I see it as a way to reach a very dedicated fan base and really tough that group of fans that show up at the race and be part of their enjoyment," Oberto said.

"So when they go home, they've had a good time at the beach, they saw great racing and they know Oberto was part of it," he said.

Larry knows his way around motor sports.  In addition to his involvement with hydroplane racing, he races cars.  And he sees a difference in marketing using the hydros than what happens to some of the sponsors in auto racing.  "In motor sports, unless you win or crash or throw a big party, you kind of get lost in the shuffle."

"People know the Oberto name from the boat racing," he said.

Source:  Tim Torrance of WORX Radio interviewed Larry Oberto on "The Hydro Show"

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