Boat crowd excites organizer | Business Chatter

When Michelle Curry agreed last year to organize hydroplane races in Oak Harbor this summer, she knew she was facing a tight deadline and some uncharted waters.

First, she had never attended a hydroplane race before. Yet she was now in charge of the Oak Harbor Hydroplane Races.

“Not even Seafair,” said Curry, a real estate loan officer at People’s Bank in Oak Harbor. “My first race was the first weekend of September last year in Spanaway down at nationals. I wanted to see exactly what I had gotten myself into.”

She had to wait another month before the American Power Boat Association approved the race, date and time, leaving her 10 months to plan and execute the race, which is set for Aug. 16-17. She’s been busy ever since, promoting the event and lining up sponsors.

On June 7, Curry was pleased to see the number of people who came to preview some of the race boats at the Show & Shine Boat Show at Flyers Restaurant & Brewery in the sun.

“I was doing a clicker counter,” she said. “My goal was 500. We stopped counting when we hit 500.”

She said the feedback was encouraging. She’s still seeking sponsors and volunteers. She said VIP waterfront suites are available to reserve. Curry can be reached at 360-941-9690.

Thirteen classes, including Grand Prix hydroplanes, will be racing in the event, which is part of the APBA Inboard Hydroplane and Flatbottom Racing circuit. The big-budget unlimited hydroplanes are not a part of the event.

Raffle tickets to win a free boat ride are still being sold at the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce until the drawing on Aug. 10.

Curry is expecting attendance for the Oak Harbor event to be as big as 10,000.

ROUGH CROWD: It’s never too early to break out the belt-sander to practice a few test runs.

Frontier Building Supply in Oak Harbor is bracing for its annual belt sander races, which will take place at high noon July 18.

The event features contractors and anyone else who’d like to race a belt sander in front of the store. Winners at each Front Building Supply location, including its outlet in Freeland July 25, will advance to the grand finals in Anacortes Aug. 1.

BIZ BITS: For fans of hot dogs and bratwurst, a clever way to find out if “Coupe’s Last Stand” is open for lunch on a given day near the Coupeville Wharf is to go to the Coupeville Library website (, check out the webcam and look for the red and white umbrellas.

Chris Reissner, owner of A Paw in Hand pet boutique on Pioneer, got a surprise visitor earlier this month when a black cat walked into his store unescorted and wandered around the store. After a snack, the friendly cat was reunited with its owner. “It was hysterical,” said Katy Reissner, Chris’ mother who also works in the store.

Got any business news? Contact Ron Newberry at rnewberry@whidbeynews














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