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ITD OKs Hydroplane Transport Plan

A transportation plan for the 2014 Diamond Cup received approval Monday and the Idaho Transportation Department issued organizers a permit for the Labor Day weekend event. The plan approved by ITD includes the bussing plan to and from the event, signage along the highway in the vicinity of Silver Beach, and the requirements expected of the group for organizing and supervising other aspects of traffic control. “Ironically, the ITD permit is one of the requirements for a marine-event permit set forth by the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office,” a press release from Diamond Cup organizers said. “Sheriff Ben Wolfinger set a July 1 deadline for the submission of all necessary marine-event permit materials even though he knew that the ITD permit would not be issued until after his deadline.” In a letter Monday from Stephanie Hale at ITD to Diamond Cup president Doug Miller, she wrote that the permit is only conditionally approved/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: I must be missing something here. Didn't the sheriff say, no? Can anyone figure out what the Diamond Cup organizers are doing by continuing to seek other permits for Labor Day races?

State Permits Diamond Cup Race

The Idaho Department of Lands on Friday approved an encroachment permit for the Diamond Cup hydroplane races on Lake Coeur d'Alene. “The IDL permit is unquestionably the most important permit” the race organizers need to acquire before the Labor Day weekend event, said John Magnuson, a Coeur d'Alene attorney representing the Diamond Cup organizers. He said the permit is good for three years. In February, organizers applied for the permit to deploy ecology blocks, removable pilings, EZ Dock, and concrete anchors in the lake to facilitate the races. A public hearing was conducted June 10. “IDL has determined that the navigational and economic benefit of the proposed activity outweighs any minimal adverse impacts to commerce, navigation, fisheries or other wildlife habitat, or public recreation,” Brandon Lamb, hearing coordinator for the department, wrote in his recommendation/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Facebook photo of Diamond Cup logo)

Question: Seems to me that organizers don't have enough time to sell tickets & advertising for the event this Labor Day, especially with the sheriff's denial of his department's permit hanging over their heads. Thoughts?

Hydroplane races hinge on county code

There’s a new hurdle for Coeur d’Alene’s hydroplane races scheduled for Labor Day weekend.

Kootenai County is working on a new review process for hydroplane races on Lake Coeur d’Alene after the county’s community development director determined the land portion of the event isn’t allowed under current code.

David Callahan joined the county in November, after the Coeur d’Alene Diamond Cup’s hydroplane races took place Labor Day weekend. The races were the first on the lake since 1968.

The 2013 hydroplane races were permitted “mostly as an aquatic event,” Callahan said, without much consideration to staging areas on the shore. “I don’t think the county knew much about the land portion of the event. My staff wasn’t fully informed.” More here. Becky Kramer, SR

Do you hope the hydroplane races witll return this summer?

Diamond Cup A Go For 2014

H1 Unlimited announced that the 2014 racing schedule will include a return to the Diamond Cup on Lake Coeur d’Alene this summer. H1 Chairman Sam Cole said the organization is delighted to be returning to Coeur d’Alene, with its rich history in unlimited hydroplane racing. He said the 2013 race was very well received by the fans and the community. “I am glad we were able to resolve the issues that were standing in the way of announcing the 2014 Diamond Cup and I speak for all our owners, race teams, officials and fans when I say we are looking forward to returning to beautiful Coeur d’Alene Labor Day weekend,” Cole said over the weekend/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Are you glad to see hydroplane racing return to the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene this summer?

Diamond Cup Deadline Approaches

The head of H1 Unlimited, the unlimited hydroplane racing league, says he has “some strong concerns that persist” about Coeur d'Alene's Diamond Cup races. In an email obtained Wednesday by The Press, H1 Unlimited Chairman Sam Cole said Diamond Cup organizers must come up with money and a signed race agreement — soon. In that message, Cole said the deadline is midnight Saturday. At the top of H1's needs from Diamond Cup organizers: “Written agreement and payment schedule for the $71,000 balance of the insufficient funds check that was given to H1 at the conclusion of the 2013 event,” Cole wrote/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Shawn Gust's Coeur d'Alene Press file photo of last summer's Diamond Cup races)

Question: How do you think the community feels about the Diamond Cup races today?

Organizers Thank Hydro Volunteers

Ask Lee Proctor how many volunteers turned out to help with the races and she'll tell you “not enough.” Proctor organized the volunteer efforts at the Coeur d'Alene Diamond Cup Race. She got started a little more than two months ago. “We will need more for sure,” she said, Thursday. “If you count everyone involved - really we are all volunteers - we had about 300, or somewhere between 250 and 300.” Not all of them showed up, but things went well anyway, she said. Organizers of the Coeur d'Alene Diamond Cup held an appreciation party Thursday night for all the volunteers who turned out to make the race a success/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Gabe Green's Press photo: President of Diamond Cup Racing, Doug Miller, thanks volunteers of last weekend's hydroplane races Thursday)

Question: Would you like to be a volunteer for the 2014 Diamond Cup hydroplane races?

Hydroplanes Took Bite Out Of Crime

Believe it or not, the 2013 Coeur d'Alene Diamond Cup event appears to have taken a bite out of crime. “I was just looking at the bookings, and there weren't as many bookings this weekend as we would ordinarily have on a weekend,” Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger said Tuesday. In fact, other than one arrest for boating under the influence, and one vehicle that was towed for blocking traffic, parking tickets made up the worst Diamond Cup offenses over the holiday weekend. “Other than that, we had very few calls for service related to the hydroplane races,” said Coeur d'Alene Police Sgt. Christie Wood/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Sounds like we can finally put riots of the 60s in rear-view mirror, right?

Herb: Move Hydro Race Up A Week

On his Bay Views blog, Herb Huseland writes: “If I have one recommendation for next year (for Diamond Cup hydroplane races) it would be to schedule the race the week prior to Labor Day, as their were much more group activities in the private home area than was anticipated. Hopefully, everyone got to where they were going without too much stress. Also, our typical weather patterns have abrupt changes just before, just after or during the Labor Day weekend. This year, we missed a week filled with thunder storms and rain by one day. This year we needed all the time we could get. Next year it will luck not good planning. More here.

Question: Would you prefer to see the Diamond Cup hydroplane race moved up a week for the 2014 season? Or remain on the Labor Day Weekend?

Hydro Organizers: We’ll Be Back

Wave the checkered flag, nearly everyone is calling it a success. Organizers, spectators and Silver Beach neighbors said Monday the Diamond Cup Regatta lived up to the hype by pulling off a triumphant return to Lake Coeur d'Alene over the holiday weekend. An old Lake City staple, the sanctioned hydroplane races were the first real runs since 1968. Despite the 45-year hiatus, several people said it was like the races never missed a beat, as the boats roared, crowds mingled and traffic through the area, though delayed, didn't create a constant roadblock. “I would say it was an epic weekend,” said Jim Lien, a spectator who viewed the races tied up to a dock on a boat near the 2-mile race course near Silver Beach. He described the boats, weather and crowds as “great” and was looking forward to next year/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Duane Rasmussen photo: Two hydroplanes are put into water simultaneously along Silver Beach)

Question: Sounds like the organizers pulled off the Diamond Cup hydroplane races well and deserve another shot next year. What do you think?

Hydroplanes Return Without A Hitch

In this Duane Rasmussen photo, a young boy finagles his way into a close look at the cockpit of one of the hydroplanes that raced on Lake Coeur d'Alene Friday through Sunday.

The man who brought hydroplane racing back to Lake Coeur d’Alene paused on the shoreline Sunday afternoon and smiled. And he hasn’t done a lot of that – pause or smile – in recent months. “Without a doubt I think it’s been my single largest contribution of my time spent here,” Doug Miller said over the roar of the final Grand Prix heat. He’s ready for more, too. After a successful revival of the Diamond Cup 45 years after it vanished, Miller is confident hydroplane racing is back to stay in the Lake City, and he looks forward to continuing as president of the Diamond Cup Regatta. “I’d like to do a couple more years,” he said. “I’m 62. It takes the energy of people in their 30s. It really does.” For Miller and a small army of sponsors and volunteers, establishing what they hope is a new Labor Day weekend tradition in the Inland Northwest was a gamble and a chore/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: Did you attend the Diamond Cup hydroplane races? Thoughts?

Shane earns Diamond Cup victory on H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series

In front of a crowded shoreline and hundreds of spectator boats anchored behind a log boom, Jimmy Shane showed his mastery of Lake Coeur d’Alene’s 2-mile H1 Unlimited Hydroplane race course en route to victory, marking the return of Diamond Cup racing just off Silver Beach.

Shane has early lead towards entry into Diamond Cup finale

H1 Unlimited Hydroplane racing continues today on Lake Coeur d'Alene near Silver Beach. The top-6 drivers in weekend points will earn a spot in the 4 p.m. final heat.

Diamond Cup presents new challenge for H1 teams

Unlimited Hydroplane racing returns to the Inland Empire for the first time since 1968. For the competitors of the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series the course will present plenty of challenges this weekend.

Herb Quits Hydro Announcing Gig

On his Bay Views blog, Herb Huseland announced that he's burned out from treatment by Diamond Cup hydroplane organizers and has resigned from announcing duties this weekend:

After days of people in my face over resident parking and access along Silver Beach, ticket holder problems, fickle changes in direction by management It came to a head today when the straw broke the camel's back. Faced with fans less than 24 hours from now, the sound guy switched FM frequencies. This, after a thorough airing of 90.5. This was  by my hand, publicized through the Spokesman-Review, the Coeur d'Alene Press and this blog and by it's republication in Huckleberries on line. Fans going to the race expecting 90.5 are going to come up empty. With no time left to publicize the switch, most race fans will not hear the P.A. announcements. While I regret the necessity of leaving, I was too close to boiling over to stay. More here.


Hagadone Recalls Old Diamond Cup

Duane Hagadone reminisces Wednesday about the inaugural Diamond Cup that he helped bring to Coeur d'Alene more than a half century ago. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)

He brought back the hydroplane bacon 55 years ago, and this weekend Duane Hagadone will be able to watch it sizzle some more. He'll be watching from his sailboat - appropriately named Sizzler. Hagadone, who was 25 years old at the time, traveled with Lee Brack to Detroit in April 1958 for a critical sales pitch. Their mission: To get hydroplane races sanctioned for Coeur d'Alene that summer. “We had to prove we had the financial stability and could pull it off,” said Hagadone, whose photo appeared with fellow hydro proponents on the front page of the Coeur d'Alene Press on April 14, 1958, under the headline, HYDRO COMMITTEE “BRINGS BACK THE BACON” FROM DETROIT MEETING/Mike Patrick, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

DFO: Although I don't plan to attend the hydroplane races this weekend on Lake Coeur d'Alene, I wish the organizers success. The races are being staged in the correct part of the lake, away from downtown Coeur d'Alene. I suspect problems in this first year of racing. But nothing insurmountable. How about you?

Question: Do you want to see this year's Diamond Cup race fail or succeed?

Diamond Cup Handles Problems

Herb Huseland of Bay Views, who will serve as Diamond Cup hydroplane racing announcer provides this update for Huckleberries Online re: dealing with technical difficulties:

We are solving problems as they occur and discovering others as we go along. One hitch is the P.A. system will be severely limited. To counter that, we will have a low power FM station broadcasting the P.A. announcements as well as Mike Fitzsimmons calling the race. Anyone that has a portable radio can dial in 90.5 on their FM radio. Other than that, we expect traffic delays, crowds both at the fairgrounds and at the venue itself. If you own bicycles and can park away from the race course, ride in on bikes you can access any part of the viewing area. Should you wish to leave your bike there is a supervised bike corral across from the Beach House. More here.

Question: How do you plan to get to the hydroplane races?

Race Organizers Warn Of Congestion

Diamond Cup organizers are warning of traffic congestion heading into the race's return this weekend. One big change in preparation for the inaugural return: Most of East Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive will be reduced to one lane of traffic. The road is the main thoroughfare getting to Silver Beach, where the race course will be set up. The modification will run Thursday through Sunday to allow organizers to place about one mile's worth of bleachers in the lane of traffic closest to the water. The other, westbound lane, will remain open for traffic but flaggers will be stationed at Potlatch Hill Road and just west of Sunnyside Road to control one-way traffic flow. The Centennial Trail will also remain open, but will be diverted next to the single lane of vehicular traffic, organizers said/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Gabe Green's Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Devin Dresser, with Second Wind Productions Professional Audio Equipment and Services, sets up scaffolding along Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive for the sound system)

Question: What do you plan to do this coming weekend?

Diamond Cup Brings Sheriff’s Alert

As the Diamond Cup Hydroplane races near, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office would like to alert the public to waterways hazards and potential traffic congestion. For the past few days, event organizers have been setting the race course on Lake Coeur d’Alene, near the Silver Beach area. From now through the Labor Day weekend, numerous course buoys and log booms will be moved into the area for the races. Boaters are encouraged to use extreme caution when traversing the area around the course. Additionally, beginning Thursday morning August 29, Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive from Potlatch Hill Rd to just west of Sunnyside Rd will be reduced to one lane of travel with traffic flaggers at each end. Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive will remain one lane through the weekend. The Centennial Trail will also remain open, but will be diverted next to the single lane of vehicular traffic/Lt. Stu Miller, Kootenai County Sheriff's Office. More here.

Question: Do you expect the renewal of the Diamond Cup hydroplane races to go smoothly?

1st Queen Recalls 1958 Diamond Cup

In 1958, crowning the Diamond Cup Queen wasn't a very ceremonious event. So says the queen herself. “The whole thing was new. It was new to everybody,” said Ruthanna (Hawkins) Rauer, the very first Diamond Cup queen. Ruthanna had taken a semester off from the University of Idaho, and all of the founders of the original Diamond Cup were friends of hers. So, when they went looking to fill the position, they just asked her to step up. “I was happy to do it,” she said. “But I felt more like a hostess than a queen.” She said the position was designed to help sell tickets and really promote the event to the outlying communities. “Duane Hagadone was in charge of publicity,” she said. “We traveled together all over North Idaho and of course Spokane”/Jeff Selle, SR. More here.

Question: Are you going to the races?

Officers will be out in force for the races

Kootenai County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Ewing, center, talks with Allan Clark, of Post Falls, after his boat passed a safety check on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Ewing and Deputy Jonathan Traw, right, were on patrol on Friday.

In a little more than a week, thousands of people will descend on Lake Coeur d’Alene to watch the first hydroplane races held there since the last summer of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency.

There to greet this generation of race fans will be a heavy presence of law enforcement and private security, intent on keeping the Diamond Cup over Labor Day weekend safe, sober and orderly for everyone.

Organizers emphasize this is a family-oriented sport, and they’ve taken steps to prevent any chance of a repeat of the unruly crowds and clashes with police that marred the event for several consecutive years in the early 1960s. Through crowd controls on land and patrols on the lake, officials aim for three days of trouble-free cheering for the thunderous spectacle. More. Scott Maben, SR

Do you think the hydroplane races will offer a boost to the Cda economy?

Bikes Could Ease Hydro Traffic

Item: Bikes could ease hydroplane traffic: Busing people from fairgrounds to course could clog streets/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: The road to the water has hydroplane race organizers a little bit worried. Figuring out the perfect way to pull off a race on Lake Coeur d’Alene that could entertain 30,000 or 40,000 people for the first time isn’t the easiest thing to do, and that includes getting fans to and from the venue. “Everything is something we’re working through, you bet,” said Herb Huseland, Diamond Cup Regatta spokesperson. One speed bump they’ve hit along the way — and the race is now two weeks out — is the park and ride option for spectators. Busing around 16,000 people from the Kootenai County Fairgrounds to the race course at Silver Beach could clog traffic at the fairgrounds or on East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive.

Question: How do you plan to get to the Diamond Cup races on Labor Day weekend?

CdA Hydro race has neighbors worried

I’m one of the few people that get in this lake every day,” Evalyn Adams said as she swam in Lake Coeur d’Alene at Silver Beach. She has property adjacent to the site of the Diamond Cup hydroplane races that will take place on Labor Day weekend.Kathy Plonka, SR photo

Frank Addeman grew up with the Diamond Cup in the late 1950s and early ’60s and has good memories of the boats streaking across Lake Coeur d’Alene.

“When I was a kid I used to collect all the (commemorative) buttons,” he said. “I loved the hydroplane races and I was sad when they had to leave.”

With the races about to return after a 45-year lull, Addeman is among a few residents who will have the best views of the turbine-powered hulls reaching speeds of 200 mph about 450 feet from the shoreline.

His house sits on the bluff above Silver Beach, and like many of his neighbors, Addeman can watch the Labor Day weekend heats from his deck above or his dock below.

But he also has had some concerns – as have others who live above East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive just outside city limits – about traffic flow, crowd control, trespassing and liability insurance. Some residents also were surprised last week to see trees along the shoreline being trimmed to improve spectator viewing of the race course. Read more. Scott Maben, SR

Do you have concerns about the Diamond Cup returning to Cda?


Hydro Legend Returning To Lake CdA

Hydro team owner Billy Schumacher talks with team members after a test run of his hydroplane during the Columbia Cup in Kennewick, Washington on Friday, July 27. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

When the thunderboats return to Lake Coeur d’Alene this summer, a champion of the sport’s piston-powered era will be back on the water, if not actually in the driver’s seat. Billy Schumacher, of Seattle, won an impressive string of Unlimited Class hydroplane races in the 1960s and ’70s and claimed back-to-back national championships. Now 70, he’s on the race circuit again as a team owner with wife Jane. Their boat, Miss Beacon Plumbing, is headed to Coeur d’Alene for the long-awaited return of the Diamond Cup races over Labor Day weekend. It will be something of a homecoming for Schumacher: He’s the reigning Diamond Cup champion/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: When and where did you last see a hydroplane race?

Spokane Gets Hydroplane Invite

A pair of Diamond Cup Regatta organizers with an H1 Unlimited hydroplane in tow pulled into downtown Spokane Wednesday to extend an invite. Why? Because fans of 200 mph hydro racing set to return to Lake Coeur d'Alene Labor Day weekend should come from all walks, if not states. So what say you, Spokane? How does a short trip east sound for the long, hot holiday weekend? “Coeur d'Alene has the resource, the lake, the body of water to host it, but without the support of the city of Spokane, there wouldn't be a Diamond Cup,” Doug Miller, Diamond Cup board chairman, told Spokane Mayor David Condon shortly before giving the second-year mayor a bottle of champagne/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Gabe Green photo: Doug Miller formally invites Spokane Mayor David Condon to the Diamond Cup hydroplane races Wednesday)

Question: The more the merrier?

Hagadone Donates $100K To Hydros

Call it turbo-support. Hydroplane racing, ready to return to Lake Coeur d'Alene on Labor Day weekend, received a big boost Thursday when organizers announced Hagadone Corp. is the latest business to financially support the races. “The bottom line is the Hagadone Corp. is pleased to announce we're going to throw in another $100,000,” Brad Hagadone, the company's president, said during a sponsor barbecue at Riverstone. “It's good to be a part of it.” The financial pledge is the latest piece of good news in what's been a month of glad tidings for race organizers, who announced several weeks ago that the races would return to Silver Beach off East Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive over the holiday weekend. So there's no question: The races are definitely on/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Gabe Green CdA Press photo: Brad Hagadone laughs after speaking at the Coeur d'Alene Diamond Cup Regatta sponsor barbecue Thursday evening)

Question: For the first time, I believe the hydroplane races are a  go this year. How about you?

Bay Views: Hydro Volunteers Needed

Here's your chance to get involved with the race this fall. We need volunteers for various duties, including answering the phone at our new office in Riverstone. Meet and mingle with the race organizers and participants and just an important part of getting the race done. The money is arranged, now we need people to help out. We have just 60 days to get everything done and not enough help with all of the details that have to be addressed. Don't just watch the race, be a part of it. Just get on your computer, go to: www.diamondcuprace.com/Herb Huseland, Bay Views. More here.

Question: Which major Coeur d'Alene summer event have you volunteered for in the past?

Organizers Mum On Hydro Races

The latest word from an organizer spearheading hydroplane racing's return to Lake Coeur d'Alene said the races will go on as scheduled Labor Day weekend. Doug Miller told The Press three weeks ago that The Diamond Cup Regatta is close to securing “major contracts” that would ensure the races will happen. “We're not in trouble at all,” Miller said in a May 1 phone message, referring to rumors that the race will be canceled, as it was last year. “We're just finishing up some major contracts right now that should be done in the middle part of next week that will be major announcements for us.” But the middle part of that week passed, and despite numerous calls from The Press, nobody is offering an update on sponsorships or ticket sales. In a previous interview, Miller estimated it would cost $400,000 to host the event/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: It has seemed to me all along that there's little to no momentum for these races. Things should be in full swing at this point. Yet you can't get a peep our of organizers. What's up?

Diamond Cup Tickets Now On Sale

It looks like the Diamond Cup Regatta promoters are moving ahead with the hydroplane races on Lake Coeur d'Alene for the Labor Day Weekend this year. The promotional flyer above was circulated by Tickets West this morning. More information here.

Diamond Cup Calls Off 2012 Race

Hydroplane racing will not return to the Lake City this summer after all. Organizers say the Coeur d’Alene Diamond Cup hydroplane race event needs more sponsors. With sponsorship deals still in the works, the race has been rescheduled from this summer to Labor Day weekend of 2013, said Doug Miller, Diamond Cup president. Organizers of the return to racing announced last month that the boats would be back on Lake Coeur d’Alene for exhibitions and the first racing event held here in racing 44 years. “We will become the No. 1 race in the United States,” organizer Dennis Wheeler said at the time. The hydro races were to run southeast of downtown as part of the Diamond Cup Regatta during Labor Day weekend/Scott Maben, SR. More here. (SR file photo: Driver Joe Souza discusses hydroplanes at the June 8 annoucement at Silver Beach that the races would be returning to Lake Coeur d'Alene this fall)

Question: Do you expect the Diamond Cup to be ready to stage races in 2013?

Hydromaniacs Pushing For Races

Item: It takes a community: Hughes believes hydroplane racing could again be popular on Lake Coeur d'Alene/Alecia Warren, CdA Press

More Info: Doug Miller agrees. President of the Hydromaniacs nonprofit, Miller is in the midst of trying to resurrect the annual Diamond Cup Unlimited Regatta that the Lake City hosted annually in the late ‘50s and ‘60s. After organizing a revival regatta last year, Miller is planning a second regatta for this August. Although the regatta is only an exhibition of vintage Unlimited boats, Miller still holds Madison’s fervor for hydroplane racing as a role model for Coeur d’Alene, he said. (SR file photo of hydroplane exhibition run by J. Bart Rayniak)

Question: Is Coeur d'Alene finally ready to embrace hydroplane races again?