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quicksilver remains afloat

The quicksilver hydroplane races are expected to return to Silver-dale this year despite the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce no  longer sponsoring the event. - Photo by Aaron Managhan/file photo 2006
The quicksilver hydroplane races are expected to return to Silver-dale this year despite the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce no longer sponsoring the event.
— image credit: Photo by Aaron Managhan/file photo 2006

The Silverdale Chamber of Commerce is no longer a part of quicksilver. But that won’t sink the popular hydroplane racing event.

The quicksilver hydroplane races will again take place Aug. 17-19 in Dyes Inlet, just without chamber leadership.

“The decision is something the board didn’t enter into lightly,” said Darla Murker, executive director of the chamber. “But when you’re looking at the big picture, (the board) decided we needed to.”

The race costs between $60,000 and $65,0000 per year to put on. That burden became too large for the chamber to handle, as evidenced in last year’s questions over whether quicksilver would take place. But rather than be saved via a large contribution as Great Western Sports did last year, the Unlimited Lights Hydroplane Racing Association (ULHRA) will take charge. ULHRA President Joe Frauenheim said that is usually the case for upstart races.

“The chamber of commerce worked with us in the initial event,” he said. “It’s not unusual. It’s a natural progression for organizers overseeing an event taking place over time.”

As an event grows in a given community, Frauenheim said they can tend to outgrow the initial sponsor’s in terms of cost. And with a group like the chamber (its vision is to be “the leader in creating a vibrant economic base supporting a quality community,” according to its Web site, www.silverdalechamber.com, the event simply started taking too much focus.

“It’s not that the chamber isn’t helping and promoting it,” Frauenheim said. “It’s that the chamber isn’t necessarily made to put on the long-term promotion of an event like this. It’s time for another group to come along.”

Frauenheim said the race’s future wasn’t really in question, given the benefits to the Dyes Inlet site.

“The site itself is family friendly because it can be viewed from many areas,” he said. “There’s a nice dock facility. A nice park area. It’s close in to town. It’s not a remote site, but it’s not a big city. And the whole community gets behind it.”

That said, it will still take more than just the ULHRA to put the event on.

“What happens is we’ll work with another promoter to work on the event,” Frauenheim said. “We’ll partner up. Different areas do it different ways.”

With the race starting up in 2005, the year it won the association’s 2005 Race Site of the Year award, Frauenheim also said many people have grown accustomed to the sights and sounds on Silverdale’s waterfront during that August weekend.

“We found that once you have a race at a site over a number of years, people begin to plan it in their schedules,” he said. “That makes promotion of it much easier.”

As for event promotion, Murker said the chamber will promote quicksilver like it does any event.

“We’ll promote it like any other community event,” she said. “To be able to still have an event that’s family friendly, draws in recreation dollars and is good for the community, we obviously want to be supportive of it.”

That should help quicksilver prosper for a long time in Silverdale, even with the change in leadership.

“That’s what we’re looking to do,” Frauenheim said. “It’s a great event, a great venue for racing and there’s great fans there and we want that to continue. We’re really very happy the chamber has made the efforts it has over the years.”

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