If you've been to the Water Follies before, chances are you've seen a bright red boat sporting an ACE Hardware logo.
Go3Racing and the bright red Grigg’s ACE Hardware hydro have been making the trek out to Tri-Cities for a long time. In fact, the Water Follies is the only race that the boat known as Miss Ace Hardware competes in all year.
“Well, there's a number of reasons for that.’ says owner Ed Cooper Jr., ‘In my position I have to make the thing pay, in other words it's not profitable to run this boat, but I'm not in a position that I can lose money to run this boat. So, it has to be a race site where I have a sponsor and the race site pays the bills and all those things come together and it comes together here.”
That sponsor came through in the form of Charlie Grigg, owner of multiple ACE hardware stores throughout the Tri-Cities.
“Ed sat out a few years and decided not to race,’ says Grigg, ‘and I read something in the paper one day that they were talking about wanting to come back and wanted race in the Tri-Cities. I sent him an email, I said, ‘I'm not sure I can afford it but how much?’ they sent me back a number and it was a really reasonable number and I thought, man I got to have this boat come out here because this is what I grew up listening to.”
The sound he was referring to?
The roar of good old-fashioned piston power.
And the Miss ACE Hardware is the only boat currently on the H1 racing circuit still running on it.
“When I was a kid there would be eight of them on the course at one time and your insides would just shake and it was the most awesome thing in the world.,’ says Grigg, ‘So, I said I got to get that back for the people of Tri-Cities.”
Something that the citizens of the Tri-Cities have expressed their appreciation for,
“The fans love the boat because it's nostalgic,’ says Cooper, ‘they remember it from the old days when everything was piston-powered. What makes it different is that it's as competitive as any boat would be there.”
And this weekend, Ed and Charlie hope to bring home some hardware of their own and give the people of Tri-Cities some of those good vibrations.