Kenmore Hydroplane Cup

Hydroplane Cup: The Return of the Sammamish Slough Races

Article Reprinted from

kenmore-hydroplane-cupAs part of 4Culture’s Historic Site(s) Specific program, artist A. Gaul Culley was funded in 2013 for an event commemorating the history of the Sammamish Slough races, a tradition that helped establish hydroplane racing in the region. In this past Site Specific season Gaul will offered workshops in Kenmore, and collaborated with the City of Kenmore in this year’s Hydroplane Cup: The Return of the Sammamish Slough Races.

Site Specific manager Charlie Rathbun reflects on the role Gaul’s initial artwork played in this year’s event.

One thing I love about working with artists is you never really know where you’re going to end up. For instance how did I end up slated to stand at the new boat launch in Kenmore to announce the opening act for the revived speedboat races at the Kenmore Hydroplane Cup 2014?

Because an artist named A. Gaul Culley came to see us with an idea for memorializing, in a public artwork, the long forgotten Sammamish Slough Boat Races. Her inspiration? Her father-in-law was a pit crew chief for the Miss Budweiser, winner of the longest, windiest, and wildest outboard motor boat race in the country, once a national sporting phenomenon, and the precursor to the hydro-plane races of today.

The slough races were discontinued in 1976, ta gaul culley at slough races - imagehe drivers retired as legends and their speed boats relegated to dusty basements. Gaul applied to our Historic Site(s) Specific Program in partnership with the city of Kenmore and four historic societies along the Sammamish River Slough that runs from Lake Sammamish to Lake Washington. Gaul’s idea for a commemorative artwork was soon subsumed however by the budding enthusiasm of an entire community that never got the chance to commemorate this unique tradition of our Northwest region. Many of our current residents have no idea of the early history of speedboat racing and of the men who raced the Sammamish River, through the bucolic countryside of north King County – or of the kids who raced their bicycles with model boats in tow along the shore. Last April, more than 200 people turned out for an impromptu celebration of the Slough Boat races at Kenmore City Hall with stories and slide shows. Some even brought their boats, hauled out, dusted off and on display in the parking lot.

It’s hard to keep a good idea down. On April 5th, 2014 the City of Kenmore and Gaul Culley inaugurated the first annual Kenmore Hydroplane Cup at Log Boom Park in the north end of Lake Washington. Over a thousand participants and spectat0rs gathered at the new Kenmore Boat launch…. regardless of the weather, to witness the rebirth of a Northwest tradition.  Redmond based Composer Rulon Brown, created a composition based on the natural sounds and sights of the Sammamish Slough.  That is the unpredictable nature of art that follows in the intrepid footsteps of the artist.

Sammamish Slough Boat Races from 4Culture on Vimeo.

In the Media:

“The Slough Came Roaring Back”,
Read the April 11th article North West Yachting click here:

“Kenmore Residents Flock to the Dock to Watch the Returning Slough Race.”
Read the April 5, 2014 Bothell Reporter article click here:

“Kenmore Residents Brave Rain to Watch Slough Races”
Read the April 7th, 2014 Bothell Reporter article click here:

“Four Cities to Remember Historic Sammamish River Boat Races  on Sunday”
Read the April 2, 2014

“When Race Boats Ruled the Sammamish Slough: Recollections and Memories”
Read the April 1, 2014 Redmond Reporter article here:

“A Boat Racer and His Daughter  Bring Back a Beloved Event Back to Kenmore After a 38 year Hiatus
Read the March 18, 2014 Bothell Reporter article click here: