The Michigan Hydroplane Racing Association events are still tentatively scheduled for August 1-2 and September 11-13, 2020.
There is one event where “Activity Central” is not centered on Downtown Grass Lake, however, it’s not far removed. When the Michigan Hydroplane Racing Association (MHRA) brings its family to town, they stage their running of the Stock Outboard Racing events on the Lake at Grass Lake County Park. In both the “Wild Ones Regatta” and the “National Stock Outboard” racing events the MHRA will spend at least 2 days in the area, and in the case of the “Nationals”; a whole week. While those events may take place on the Lake, the after racing is over events typically end up on the street downtown. Whether it’s a street dance and party after the weekend, or the Traffic Jam’in at the end of the Nationals, the MHRA is welcomed downtown in each case to relax and enjoy the “hometown” feeling.
For 30 years the MHRA has brought its annual power boat races to Grass Lake to tally up points in the race for the association’s annual driver of the year trophy. One of the many races sponsored by the association each year, the Grass Lake race, dubbed the “Wild Ones Regatta” has grown every year with new races, new drivers, expanded sanctioning, and boat racers from across the Midwest and Canada.
For its 25th year the MHRA continued a tradition, and a celebration of sorts, with the hosting of the 2009 National Stock Outboard Races, which were expected to bring more than 200 power boat racers from across the country to compete for that coveted 1US title. The first time the Nationals had been run in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, it was a weeklong event in Grass Lake featuring various activities throughout the week highlighting the taste of Grass Lake and the outdoor sportsman’s range of activities from golf, to fishing, boats, skeet shoots and so on, the community sought to spotlight Grass Lake as a continued site of excellence for the MHRA into the future as well as a perfect site for the Nationals, probably not every year, but for several years into the future.
Stock outboard racing emerged in the United States in 1924, and by 1948, stock outboard regattas were being staged under the sanctioning body of the American Power Boat Association. Because of its competitive nature, stock outboard racing grew considerably through the 1950’s and came back to Grass Lake again as the site for the 2009 Nationals, and was held in Grass Lake in 2012 and 2017.
* Photos by Rich Hays, H & H Rescue & The Grass Lake Times