ABRA honors top performers, competitors, and contributors to the sport of Unlimited Hydroplane racing - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

My vote for Best Photo of the Night at the ABRA Awards Ceremony, courtesy James Crisp.
View more photos in the HydroInsider.com LIVE BLOG >>

ABRA honors top performers, competitors, and contributors to the sport of Unlimited Hydroplane racing

Posted: Updated:

MADISON, Indiana - The American Boat Racing Association (ABRA) announced its annual awards at a gathering of owners, drivers, sponsors, event managers, officials, and fans.

It's the only sport that gives something back to everyone, said ABRA awards ceremony host Mike King. The advances in technology that are made by race teams in auto racing and boat racing create a safer environment for everyone.  The advances show up in our cars that everybody drives.

"Football gives us nothing. Baseball gives us nothing. Hockey gives us nothing. It's great entertainment," said host Mike King. "This is important. Racing matters in this world."

During the Awards ceremony, U-25 driver and ABRA board member Dr. Ken Muscatel said the Boeing Company has made a big committment to the sport.  "The Boeing Company has stepped up in a huge way," said Muscatel. "It's more than just money. You love the boat, you love the sport. They're very committed. The Bio-Jet A is a big initiative for Boeing. They're going to be with us for a long, long time."

Here is the list of award winners:

National High Points Championship - Driver
Steve David  

"In 41 years of boat racing, I never competed against a higher caliber of racing colleagues. I'm honored to race with you guys," said U-6 driver Steve David. "Driving for Madison reminds me we need to honor our past, be thankful for what we presently have, and be hopeful for the future."

"You can't win the National Driver's championship without a great crew."

David said he's 55 now and "I don't think I've got maybe more than 40 or 50 years of driving left."

National High Points Championship - Team
U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison

"It only takes 47 years to become an overnight sensation," said Mike King in introducing the U-6 team.

"It's been a wonderful ride," said U-6's Charlie Grooms.  "We look forward to next year."  

"Thanks to the Obertos," said Grooms.  "We've had a lot of sponsors in the history of Miss Madison, but none of the family values and family attitude of the Obertos.  Let's have fun."  Grooms announced they have signed their contract for 2009.

"We love racing against all of you," said Larry Oberto.  "Can't wait for next year."  Art Oberto had a special commemorative coin minted that they passed out to everyone in attendance.

Crew Chief of the Year:
Mike Hanson, U-6

Rookie of the Year:
Kip Brown, U-17

Chairman's Award:
Fred Leland

Race Site of the Year:
Tri-City Water Follies

Owner of the Year:
Greg O'Farrell, U48 & U-50

First full year with the U-50 Navy boat and they made the championship heat in every event.

Crew of the Year:
FormulaBoats.com, Ted Porter (Owner) Mark Hooton (Crew Chief)

Award of Excellence:
Art Oberto

Fans Choice Award:
Gregory Family, on behalf of Kim Gregory

Official of the Year Award:
Wes and Diane Patton, Seattle

Photographer of the Year
James Crisp

Marketing Excellence Awards

  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Oh Boy! Oberto, Larry Oberto
  • US Navy
  • Lamb Weston
  • Chrysler Jeep
  • San Diego Union-Tribune
  • Chevrolet

Special Contributions to the Sport Awards

  • Billy and Jane Scumacher
  • Dave Bartush
  • Jim Simpson

Outstanding Contributions to the Sport Awards

  • Race Marketing Partners, Ken Muscatel
  • Boeing

Season Newspaper Coverage:
Madison Courier

Race Event Newspaper Coverage:
Seattle Times

Season Radio Coverage:
WORX Radio, Madison

Race Event Radio Coverage:
KONA Radio, Tri-Cities, WA

Season Television Coverage:
KNDU-TV, Tri-Cities, WA

Television Production/Live Race Day Coverage:
KIRO-TV. Seattle, WA

Magazine Coverage:
Powerboat Magazine

Best Magazine Article:
H20 Full Throttle, Bill Osbourne

Best Internet Website:

Best Team Website:
U-3 Racing, Kirk Duncan

Best Race Website:
DDRA Detroit

Sports Writer of the Year:
Gordon Englehardt, Evansville Courier-Press