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Quicksilver hydro races deemed a success

For some at this weekend’s quicksilver hydroplane races and watersports festival, it was the first time they had ever seen hydro races and for others it’s an event favorite that usually means a trip to Seattle.

But this year locals didn’t have to travel far to get a glimpse of high-flying rooster tails accompanied by thunderous sounds of revved up hydroplane engines.

The first-ever Silverdale event was a “fabulous success,” said Silverdale Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sam Granato.

“It really made a statement on many levels,” he said. “One, we can do this; two, it’s a great event; and three, the people were magnificently responsive. CK really wants us to bring this back.”

And not just Central Kitsap.

The Sanders family of Port Orchard was set and ready for the racing action on Saturday as they spread out in lawn chairs on the Silverdale Waterfront Park boardwalk.

“I love the hydros, I’m thrilled they have it here,” Christine Sanders said. She added that when she first heard the hydro races were coming to Silverdale she “started jumping up and down.”

“I like the speed and the power and it brings the community out,” she said. “I think it’s a great way to put Silverdale on the map.”

Carla Turner of Silverdale also has been a spectator at hydroplane races and was excited to see them on Saturday.

“I’m looking forward to some good entertainment,” Turner said. “There’s so many events in different cities, it’s nice to see some events that I don’t have to travel across the water to see. Hopefully this will be a good event and we can get them here on an annual basis.”

And as far as Granato is concerned, that is exactly the plan.

“I already had a brief talk with ULHRA (Unlimited Light Hydroplane Racing Association) and they already planned to start looking at tide tables and the (racing) circuit (for next year),” Granato said. “The tide tables and circuit are a key thing, we’ll look at dates and see. We’re anticipating keeping it in August, that’s our desire, I like the August dates.”

He estimates that about 6,000 people attended the inaugural event over the two days and is pleased with that number considering it’s the first year of the event and at the idea’s inception “none of us in the chamber knew anything about hydros (and) we certainly didn’t know anything about putting on a race.

“We were hoping for 5,000 to 10,000 (people), we’re real happy,” Granato said.

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