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Hydros return to American Lake

Northwest Guardian

Published: 02:57PM July 19th, 2012
Hydros return to American Lake

Northwest Guardian

Driver Dave Anderson, of Kirkland, pilots his DSH class hydro boat around the course during the recent Outboard Boat Regatta on “Little” American Lake on JBLM Lewis Main.

The last time David Salmon was on Joint Base Lewis-McChord he served as CH-47 Chinook helicopter crew chief.

The retired sergeant who served in the Army from 1982 to 1997 returned to JBLM Saturday and Sunday to compete in the Outboard Boat Regatta at “Little” American Lake, located in the southwest corner of the lake next to the Northwest Adventure Center. Salmon and his boat competed in the 20 Super Stock Hydro, Novice C class.

“It’s awesome to be comfortable in the area and for (JBLM) to sponsor,” Salmon said. “It’s a great venue and with what the military has done for us to accommodate the sport, I’m very appreciative.”

Salmon drove one of about 90 boats that raced during the two-day Seattle Outboard Association event. The association used to race at American Lake in the late 1960s and Race Director Pat Gleason wanted to return to the former venue and put on a show for the JBLM community.

“We knew the lake was here and that it was a great body of water,” Gleason said.

Starting in May and running until September the Seattle Outboard Association competes in races in the Northwest as well as the Midwest and East Coast. The regatta at JBLM featured boats competing in 16 different classes. The boats varied in size and modifications, and were all powered by outboard motors. Youth kicked off the event with the Junior Class Hydro class with bats that reached about 40 miles per hour. Other heats featured boats going as fast as 90 miles per hour.

Each race was three laps around a 3⁄4 mile course in “Little” American Lake right outside the NAC cabins. The Seattle Outboard Association worked with the NAC to coordinate with vendors, sponsors and set-up of the race.

NAC Business Manager Kristin Sutich said having the “NASCAR on the water” event was fun, but she hopes if the event returns to JBLM there will be an added element.

“I think to find a way to integrate with the Soldiers would be better,” she said.

While Soldiers weren’t involved in the production, Andrew Valley, a Soldier with 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division enjoyed the opportunity to see a powerboat regatta close to home.

“It’s convenient and it’s great for guys like myself who are up and coming in the military and still live in the barracks,” Valley said.

Valley has always been a boat and water enthusiast and learned about the event from the Better Opportunities for Single Service Members website. When he arrived at American Lake he noticed race organizers were unable to find their recording of the National Anthem to play before the race. Valley introduced himself as a Soldier and volunteered to sing the anthem.