OWENSBORO, Ky (WEHT)– The Owensboro HydroFair is kicking off with teams testing their boats. Crews already started setting up at English Park. City officials announced this year’s race will be called the Scott Pierce Memorial Race.
This year’s race is named after the long-time hydroplane racer who passed away last year.
The sounds and sights of hydroplane engines has not been heard or seen on the Owensboro riverfront in several decades.
“When I was in middle school and high school, we had it every year and it was so exciting. I’m so excited for my grandkids to be able to see all this too,” said Carrie Oliver of Owensboro.
The young and young-at-heart, watching the teams test their engines before their engines start on the water this weekend.
“We rolled into town late last night, and it was all decked out. You can see the excitement in the town and I can’t wait to get the boats into the water,” said Greg Hopp of Hopp Racing. It’s the first time he and his father, Jerry, are racing in Owensboro. They say racing on the river has its own characteristics.
“A river has its own qualities because it is moving, and your buoys are stationary and when the boat comes around the upstream, you tend to drift into the buoys. On the downstream, you drift away from the buoys,” Jerry described.
The HydroFair is the first major hydroplane event in four decades, and is part of the American Power Boat Association’s North American Championships. It will also be known as the ‘Scott Pierce Memorial Race’ named after the former champion, who died last year.
“I think he loves the idea that the race,” said Sue Pierce, Scott’s wife. “He’s up there in heaven. He loves the idea that the race is in Owensboro. I know it’s a real honor for him.”
Race director Randy Lientz says they’re naming the event after pierce since he was instrumental in helping bring the event to Owensboro.
The Owensboro HydroFair was supposed to be held last year but was moved to this year because of the pandemic. About 60 teams are expected to compete this Saturday and Sunday.