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Friday, August 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Huckleberries: Hydroplane racing ran out of gas in Coeur d’Alene

Hydroplane racing in Coeur d’Alene ended 50 years ago as community interest waned. (S-R archives)
Hydroplane racing in Coeur d’Alene ended 50 years ago as community interest waned. (S-R archives)
By Dave Oliveria The Spokesman-Review

The downtown riots of the 1960s didn’t kill the hydroplane races on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Lack of interest did. That’s the conclusion reached by Huckleberries after perusing old copies of the Coeur d’Alene Press.

After a run from 1958 to 1966, the annual Diamond Cup races were suspended in 1967 and then canceled for good in 1969. They simply ran out of gas.

Fifty years ago, on April 28, 1969, the Coeur d’Alene Regatta Association canceled the races set for August, citing the increased cost of staging them and the difficulty in organizing volunteers to run them.

Two years before, the Spokane Yacht Club had dropped its sponsorship of the Diamond Cup because, it said, Coeur d’Alene didn’t support the races. On April 18, 1967, Commodore Donald H. Klages of the Yacht Club complained to the Coeur d’Alene City Council: “Why should we come over to Coeur d’Alene and put on a race that you yourselves don’t care to have and don’t want to help out with?”

Klages wasn’t alone in his criticism of community support for the races.

Councilman Howard Hudson groused that a few hundred people had performed all the work in staging the hydroplane races from the start.

Ed Jones, the downtown merchants’ association president, said in 1969 that the races “should have been canceled four years ago,” adding: “It’s obvious that the races don’t have popular support of the community, and they put an extra work load on the city and county employees.”

P’haps the attempts to revive the races after 1969 were made by aging fans trying to recapture a golden moment of their glory days.

Naughty Wallace

Wallace’s bygone ladies of the night have high-heeled their way onto the big screen from the pages of Heather Branstetter’s “Selling Sex in the Silver Valley: A Business Doing Pleasure.” Branstetter tells Huckleberries that her history of the old mining town’s sex trade has been made into an 18-minute documentary by Delaney Buffett, the daughter of singer Jimmy Buffett. “Wallace” made its world premiere at the Sun Valley Film Festival in March. And will be shown at Wallace’s Sixth Street Melodrama at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. (Most of the free tickets are gone.) Director Buffett will be present to discuss the film. “Wallace” focuses on Part 3 of Heather’s page-turner, the interviews with former prostitutes and the townspeople who accepted them.


Poet’s Corner: They don’t much care if you decide/ to try assisted suicide,/ and view it largely as a joke/ if you should take a little toke;/ most everything they will let pass -/ unless you try to pump your gas – Tom Wobker, The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“Summer Travels: Where Oregonians Draw the Line”) … And this dilemma comes to you courtesy of Ryan Brodwater of Spokane, who is afraid to use the spare change in his car for the parking meter. Why? you ask. Sez Brodwater: “I’m worried that sometime in the future I’ll need to park and won’t have change.” There must be a psychological term for Ryan’s malady … The answer is – a high-five. The question: How did Sgt. Paul Twidt of the Kellogg PD react after learning that an uncle was disciplining his unruly nephews by making them perform wind sprints, jumping jacks, and push-ups. Sez Sgt. Twidt in his Roll Call report: “No action was taken other than giving the uncle a high-five for parenting out-of-control juveniles.”

Parting shot

Jamie Lynn Morgan of Coeur d’Alene doesn’t think it’s too much to ask for someone to shut his yap while an airline attendant is giving safety instructions prior to takeoff. Sure, the Dude talking loudly in a nearby seat might be a Frequent Flyer, sez Morgan. But there may be others on the plane who are hearing the instructions for the first time. In Morgan’s eyes, the boorish flyer epitomizes the bad manners she sees all around. You don’t let your kids run wild in restaurants. You don’t block residential driveways or sidewalks when you park. You don’t call a mere acquaintance late at night. All those things happened to Morgan prior to her encounter with Frequent Flyer. Where’s Miss Manners when you need her?

D.F. “Dave” Oliveria can be contacted at

Wordcount: 706
Tags: news, Spokane

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