Do you love watching the speed and listening the roar of hydroplane boats competing head-to-head on the waters of Oak Harbor?
You’ll want to mark Aug. 24-25 on your calendar, as Hydros for Heroes Oak Harbor is gearing up for its fourth annual amazing weekend of racing action. Presented by The Craig McKenzie Team of Keller Williams Whidbey Realty, it’s a dual-purpose event that combines a fun, family-friendly summer activity with a fantastic fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Oak Harbor.
“The nice part is, we get a lot of volunteers and a lot of community sponsorship, which helps us keep the event free to the public,” McKenzie says.
Here’s some things to think about when planning your weekend at the races:
Hydroplane racing 101 From the necessity of packing an umbrella to understanding how each race unfolds, Hydros for Heroes has you covered with this newcomers how-to page. With 10 different classes of boats, including the grand prix racers that travel up to 170 miles per hour during Seafair races on Lake Washington, you’ll experience the best hydroplane racing around.
Some of the best seats in the house If you like the idea of camping for the weekend and being able to catch all the action up close and personal, there’s tailgate camping available on Pioneer Boulevard, giving you a great view of the action at Turn 2 on the course. For an even closer vantage point, sponsors can purchase exclusive VIP tent seating at F Dock near the start/finish line.
You’re helping great causes Last year’s race weekend raised about $34,000, which went to the Rotary Club of Oak Harbor for various initiatives. They include Food for Kids, which provides weekend meal items in a backpack for between 70 and 90 local elementary school students who receive hot lunches during the week; and Rotary’s college scholarship fund, which awarded $29,000 to area high schoolers this year.
“We’re hoping to raise close to $50,000 this year,” McKenzie says, adding that no other race passes along the entire proceeds to charity. “I think it’s possible, with good weather and a good turnout. We’re certainly going to have great races, and these are great racers who love racing for a cause.”
Helping out heroes of all kinds
The Hydros for Heroes name stems from The Craig McKenzie Team’s Homes for Heroes program, which to date has given back approximately $850,000 in broker fees to home sellers and buyers represented by them and who are military, police, firefighters, teachers, medical professionals or first responders. “The race weekend allows the rest of the community to be heroes themselves and raise money for some worthwhile causes,” McKenzie says.