The Millennials grew up in a
world of personal computers and video games. They are very familiar with communications,
media, and digital technologies and have little recollection of a time when the Internet didn’t exist. In just a few years, the Millennials also are expected to make up half of the workforce in the United States.
There are a few things the sport should understand about those in Generation X and especially about Millennials. According to one recent study, more of them tend to watch sports online using streaming video on their phones or tablets. What’s more, many of them have cut the cable and rely on getting their entertainment through
streaming services such as Netflix,
Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
The way to attract Generation
X people and Millennials to boat
racing is through livestreaming
and social media. How the events
themselves are run also needs to
be considered through the lens of
what interests people in those age
groups. Only then can the sport put itself in a position to have a successful future
UNJ: How long have you been interested in Unlimited Hydroplane racing?
MB: I grew up in the Bellevue area of Seattle. I have been a fan for quite a while. I grew up watching hydroplanes at Seafair. I have gotten involved professionally since I became marketing director at HomeStreet Bank.
How long have you been marketing director?
For all of two months. The bank put in place a great sponsorship with the Miss Madison team. I’ve come on and I enjoy a lot of the work they have done today. This is my first Madison Regatta and I have really enjoyed my time here. I got to enjoy the parade yesterday; it’s a great community. The weather has held out here. We’ve been very fortunate.
HomeStreet Bank has gotten heavily involved with unlimited hydroplane racing at a time when other national sponsorships are dwindling. What do you see for the sport and why are you interested from a marketing point of view?
The Miss Madison team was really a perfect opportunity for us from a sponsorship perspective. We have a rich heritage of sponsoring local sports in Seattle. When we took a look at unlimited hydroplane racing, we found the opportunity to be a strong regional sponsor. This boat hits three of our large markets in Washington, Seattle, and San Diego, markets where we are located. Last year was our first year. We really did get great traction from our sponsorship, from current customers, from prospects, and from fans of the sport over all. We have doubled down on our sponsorship. We have continued to increase the length of the term of
our contract and we also sponsor the racing shop, which is now HomeStreet Racing in Tukwila, Washington. We have seen a highly engaged community of fans throughout the sport and we are a community bank. Our values are really aligned with a lot of the fans and customers. We just want to continue and grow that relationship.
How do you measure your marketing results?
We measure in many different ways. In addition to sponsorship in the events themselves, with social media now, you can actually measure people taking pictures, people messaging, that sort of thing. Just yesterday, somebody reached out and thanked us for our sponsorship and involvement in the sport. That customer support is invaluable. We have a lot of metrics that tell us that this is the place to be.
HomeStreet has sponsored the old Budweiser shop in Tukwila. That has to be a sizeable investment. I look at that as a step in the right direction toward saving something that is essential to the sport.
Yes, we saw that as an investment in the sport. First and foremost, we are a sponsor of Miss Madison. Once we dug a little deeper in the sponsorship and our relationship with Miss Madison, we found that the sport needed some engagement and sponsorship as well. So, we took the step to sponsor the old Bud shop. We hope that will encourage other teams and sponsors to ramp up their investment in unlimited hydroplane racing.
What does H1 need to do to grow the sport?
Adding more race sites, of course, particularly in the areas that our bank serves. Also, we need to find a way to attract more younger fans to our sport. We need to work with H1 to engage these younger fans.
HomeStreet has a lot of involvement at race sites. Your driver mingles with the fans, he signs autographs, and you have all sorts of souvenirs available. So many other teams have done very little, other than just running their boat at the race site.
One of the reasons we were interested in our sponsorship is that we have an opportunity to bring communities together with the regatta, with Water Follies, with Seafair. These are great events that are endangered. It’s not just our sport. These community events across the country are also in danger. We aren’t just sponsoring the sport. We are promoting the community festivals and event.
What were you doing before you joined HomeStreet a couple of months ago?
I was at Capital One. Capital One is a great bank. One of the reasons I came to HomeStreet is their community focus. I wanted to join a company that really gave back to the local community.
You obviously have somebody interested in unlimited hydroplane racing up the corporate chain of command who approves HomeStreet’s sizeable investment in your sponsorship.
Mark Mason, our CEO, is a big supporter and really enjoys the camaraderie of unlimited hydroplane racing.
I think I know the answer, but I will ask you anyway. What is your best memory related to your involvement with hydroplanes?
This is actually a very difficult question for me. I thought that winning in Seattle, the place I have loved my whole life, was as good as it would ever get. Then we won it three times consecutively. After the team won the national championship, I thought that was likely as good as it would ever get. Winning that Detroit Gold Cup last year was very special to our team. If people really knew what our team went through to win that thing
Dues for Unlimiteds Unanimous.
Prior to 2010, the Unlimited NewsJournal (UNJ) was printed and Unlimiteds Unanimous (UU) charged club dues to cover the costs of producing and mailing the publication. In addition, occasional memorabilia
auctions were held to cover other expenses, such as a slide scanner, publication software updates, and maintenance on the subscription database computer.
When the UNJ moved to the Internet, the club had financial reserves that were used to purchase domain
hosting services, software, URLs, etc. Our website was built in-house by our webmaster and our editors and
webmaster use their own technology hardware when putting the UNJ together. Over the years, we have continued to use UU club reserves and no dues have been charged, as our costs are dramatically less without postage and printing costs. Also, a club member funded an ad for his dental practice in our PDF and
website for several years; he has since retired.
With our last renewal for hosting services and software updates, our reserves have dipped to a point where club leadership believes we need to replenish our reserves to ensure we have funds for future expenses. For the first time, the UNJ did not sponsor the 2017 RC show at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum as we wanted to conserve funds.
So, here’s the club’s modest proposal. If you enjoy reading the Unlimited NewsJournal, please consider
making a—one-time—financial contribution for UU club dues.
While donations for Unlimiteds Unanimous club membership will be accepted in any amount, UU club
leadership suggests the following UU membership dues structure, kind of based upon hydroplane classes.
Thank you for your consideration. Please make checks out to Unlimiteds Unanimous and mail them to:
1312 164th PL NE
Bellevue, WA 98008
EDITOR: Andy Muntz
ASSOCIATE EDITORS: Craig Fjarlie, Chris Tracy, Dick Sanders
HYDROFILE EDITOR/WEBMASTER: Lon Erickson HISTORIAN: Bob Greenhow
EDITORIAL BOARD: Clint Newman II, Bob Senior
Unlimited NewsJournal, established in 1973, is published by Unlimiteds Unanimous,
an enthusiast club interested in promoting and documenting the sport of unlimited hydroplane racing.
Copyright © 2017, Unlimited NewsJournal. Reproduction or transmission in whole or part
is not permitted without written approval of the Unlimited NewsJournal.
EDITOR: Unlimited NewsJournal, 14313 Beverly Edmonds Road, Edmonds, WA 98026.
Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
spectators what a great show unlimiteds can offer if the reins are loosened and horsepower is set free. When the checkered flag flew, Tate claimed the win.
A few GP boats were in the pits on Thursday evening. The unlimiteds all moved into position on Friday morning. First in was U-1 Miss Homestreet. It was followed by U-11 Miss J & D’s. Next came U-27 Wiggins Racing. The boat, owned by Charley Wiggins, had no name on the hull. Last in was U-9 Delta Realtrac.
GP boats featured a number of participants who had previously competed in the unlimited class. Jerry Hopp, Greg Hopp, Jamie Nilsen, Scott Pierce, and Dave Warren were all involved with GP rigs.
Buoys were in position by 12:30. The unlimiteds would run on a 2-mile course. Grand Prix boats used a 1-1/4-mile course. They shared the second turn, which was just downriver from the bridge. The first turn for the unlimiteds was almost even with the smokestacks for the powerplant.
Miss HomeStreet was the first boat on the water at 1:59 p.m. Shane ran three strong laps before he returned to the pits. He made a second run at 2:45. Several GP boats tested before Realtrac made a run just after 3:30. J & D’s had no power, no fuel, and no water until late in the day and never left its trailer. U-27 also stayed in the pits.
Madison Governor's Cup
was worth the wait.
Sponsoring an unlimited hydro
makes sense to HomeStreet Bank.
FROM THE UNJ VAULT:
Publicizing the race boats.
An interview conducted before there was
Facebook, streaming video, and mobile apps
shows the challenges are still the same.
UNJ: When you came to the UHRA what was your initial media relations strategy?
JMK: I guess that I knew, inwardly, that the press didn’t care about the sport. I don’t know that I had any plan to overcome that, except that we were going to feed them Bill Doner. Of course, mitigating against that, the patient was a lot sicker than Bill ever imagined.
How long before the reality check?
I would say a month. All the people within the sport think they can see their own self interests, but of course can’t. As a consequence the commission, teams, and race sites work at cross purposes to foul up any possible success. Nothing shall ever cause these three to work in harmony to sell this sport. And nobody with any single idea of what to do. It’s fabulous.
You were essentially hired because of your career in sports media.
I don’t really even know what my job is at the UHRA. If my job is to generate publicity, I’ve never had a chance to do that. I’m too busy doing other stuff. If my job is to improve communications, we don’t have any money to improve communications. I was ready to quit last year; I thought Bill Doner would quit, but he double crossed me, and I went back to work for him.
U-99.9 Leland Racing
In the process of working some display appearances with the U-99.9 KISW/Miss Rock, driver Kevin Eacret suffered a torn Achilles tendon in his left foot and is expected to be out approximately six to eight weeks. He has already begun therapy and reports are very positive going forward. He is riding his knee scooter in the picture at left. This injury meant finding a driver to fill the seat during Kevin’s recovery and they wasted no time with a very logical choice, naming Greg
Hopp to fill in for Kevin. Greg drove the same Leland hull many years for Fred Leland, knows the Leland operation, and works with many of the same crew in the GP class.
Along the way, he remained friends with Doner, who would eventually become the chairman of the Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Association (UHRA). It was the long relationship between the two that would culminate in Kenyon’s job as the sport’s director of communications, a position he held for over three years.
Doner fired Kenyon from that job in June 1998, ostensibly to save the UHRA money. Steve David, then president of the American Power Boat Association, asked Doner to resign two months later. But, six weeks before Kenyon’s departure, he sat down with the NewsJournal’s David Speer to discuss the challenges of marketing and publicizing this sport. That interview was included in the August 1998 issue of the NewsJournal, but his comments back then still ring true nearly 20 years later.
U-27 Wiggins Racing
The U-27 Wiggins Racing team will not be racing in either the Tri-Cities or Seattle races this summer. In response to boats planning to appear at the Northwest races, owner Charley Wiggins shared this information recently, “Unfortunately the U27 will not make it to either Tri-Cities or Seattle.”
IN THIS ISSUE:
Madison Governor's Cup by Craig Fjarlie
My $0.02 Worth by Andy Muntz
Sponsoring makes sense to HomeStreet Bank
A visit with the sports newest owner, Rob Graham
From the UNJ vault: Publicizing the race boats
HydroFile by Lon Erickson
440 Bucket List Racing
Work continues at the Bucket List Racing team,
developing an improved gearbox case (pictured at left) and system to work with the T-53 turbine.
U-3 Go3 Racing
Ed Cooper’s Go3 team will be racing in Tri-Cities with the support once again of Griggs Ace Hardware, Tri-Cities Insurance Specialists, KONA Radio, and more. Jimmy King will be behind the wheel of the Big Red Turbinator. In the photo at right are, from the left, Ed Cooper, Charlie Grigg, and John Venhuizen, the president and CEO of ACE Hardware, when the boat appeared in Yakima, Washington.
U-16 Ellstrom Racing
While there has been no formal announcement from the Ellstrom camp to date, indications are that they will be racing at Seattle with the Oberto sponsorship again. Newly named driver J.W. Myers (below left) traveled to the Madison Regatta earlier this month and drove the U-27 Wiggins Racing entry in anticipation of updating his H1 driver status. It is not clear if he was able to satisfy the H1 process of getting re-certified.
U-12 Graham Trucking Racing
The Graham Trucking team has been busy with all the final preparations and testing systems, in advance of their debut in Tri-Cities with the updated U-12 hull. Here’s the boat outside of its shop in Milton, Washington.
U-1 Miss HomeStreet Bank
The U-1 came out west early to the HomeStreet Racing shop in Tukwila (below left) for some engine work and
display duty before heading back over the mountains to the Tri-Cities for the HAPO Columbia Cup. Below
right, the boat heads across the plains going west.
The U-1 Miss HomeStreet Bank (left) and the U-9 Delta Realtrac.
The first unlimited sponsored by Graham Trucking was this boat (#9701) in 1997.
Driven by Jerry Hopp, the boat took two third-place finishes in preliminary
heats at the Texaco Cup in Seattle and finished sixth in the final heat.
In the June issue of the Unlimited NewsJournal we reported the death this past April of J Michael Kenyon at the age of 73. Kenyon was a former director of communications for unlimited hydroplane racing back in the mid-1990s, but was probably best known in the Seattle area as a sports writer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and as a feisty radio sports personality who never hesitated to express his strong opinions about things.
U-11 Unlimited Racing Group
Scott and Shannon Raney, owners of the U-11 Unlimited Hydroplane, announce the formation of
STEMacceleration, a nonprofit whose mission is: “Racing to change the lives of students by providing hands-on STEM inquiry learning opportunities using the power of the extreme sport of unlimited hydroplane racing.” For more information on this program, contact Shannon Raney at the U-11 team.
Interview by Lon Erickson
UNJ: I think most people in the sport are aware that you have been involved supporting and/or sponsoring both smaller classes of boat racing and unlimited hydroplanes for quite a few years. Tell us more about how you first got introduced or following hydroplanes?
RG: Back in the mid-80s, Jerry Hopp and several other lifelong hydroplane enthusiasts worked at Graham Trucking. In 1987, Jerry asked if the company would sponsor some 2.5-liter hydros he had, and we did. Later, we wound up sponsoring limited race sites and helped to pioneer in the Unlimited Light series. The company sponsored the Unlimited Lights at a number of race sites and in 1996 we began our sponsorship of “The Unlimited Lights Cup at Seafair.” Since 1994, we have also sponsored a broad range of unlimited teams. We began with Bill Wurster and have also sponsored Ken Muscatel, Fred Leland, Mike and Lori Jones, Dave Bartush, Ed Cooper, Jim Harvey, Ted Porter, and others. Today, we sponsor both the F-1 and GP classes at Seafair as well as campaigning the Graham Trucking U-12.
Heading into the 2017 H1 Unlimited season, we have a new owner among the ranks. Not someone new to the sport, but a familiar face picking up a new challenge and moving forward. We wanted you to get a chance to learn more about the owner of the U-12 Graham Trucking Racing team, Rob Graham.
By Craig Fjarlie
The Madison Regatta was different this year. There were only four unlimiteds, no APBA points were awarded, and most of the racing was done by boats in the Grand Prix class. The final heat, however, made up for less-than-thrilling preliminary match races. Andrew Tate, driving Delta Realtrac, and Jimmy Shane, at the wheel of Miss HomeStreet Bank, put on a duel that reminded
bright future, the people who make the decisions must have a
clear understanding of who those people are and what they want.
The marketing folks define
Generation X as those people who were born between the early 1960s and the late 1970s. In other words, they are now between the ages of about 40 and 55. When they were teens, they watched MTV and liked grunge music.
The number of Generation X
people is relatively small compared with the big bulges in population they are sandwiched between. Much more numerous are the Baby Boomers, the children of those who lived through World War II, and the next big bulge in the population
that resulted when the Baby
Boomers started to have children. That group, the younger people in that segment of the population that advertisers want to reach, is known as Millennials.
They were typically born
between the early 1980s and the
late-1990s, therefore making them about 25 to 40 years old.
Why does HomeStreet Bank sponsor an unlimited hydroplane? Our intrepid reporter Clint Newman caught up with Michael Brandt, HomeStreet’s director of marketing, during this year’s Madison Regatta to find out more about the company’s involvement in the sport. It was an event where the bank got maximum bang for their buck. In addition to sponsoring the hometown boat, the Miss Madison, the team’s driver, Jimmy Shane, was available to fans numerous times along the riverbank, signing anything and everything. He even handed out cases of light-blue HomeStreet “rally towels” that fans were to wave to cheer on Madison’s favorite boat. The fans loved it!
In my most recent comments, I
talked about the decision of KIRO TV in Seattle to no longer broadcast the hydroplane races live to viewers throughout the Pacific Northwest. The reason, they said, is that the companies that purchase the advertising
time on the broadcast (and
pay the bills) are hoping to reach an audience of people
between the ages of 25 and 54, but they’ve found that not enough people in that age group are watching the races.
The sport needs to pay atten-
tion to the lesson here, because that group of consumers is not only important to the companies that are considering the purchase of advertising
time on TV, but also to those
companies that might be interested in sponsoring a hydroplane. And, the sport simply can’t survive without sponsors.
This coveted group of people
falls into categories that marketing people call Generation X and the Millennial generation. For the sport of unlimited hydroplane racing to be successful and have a
J Michael Kenyon in the mid-1990s.
they would be amazed. We don’t have the fastest boat or the best equipment. What we have is a group of guys willing to work as long and as hard as it takes, to dot every “I” and cross every “T,” and make what we do have the best it can be. We also have one hell of a driver who is also a good friend, son, husband, and father. I sponsored Jim Harvey’s team in 2004 and 2005 when J. Michael was our rookie driver.
A few minutes with Rob Graham.
The sport’s newest team owner has been around hydroplane racing for many years.
He was given the name Mike Glover when he was born, but that
changed to J (no period) Michael Kenyon in 1968 to meet the demands of what turned out to be his second of five wives. They had honeymooned at the Indianapolis 500 where, as fate would have it, they roomed with a young man from California named Bill Doner, who would become one of Seattle’s biggest sports promoters.
Meanwhile, Kenyon would enjoy a long career as a sportswriter.
He began at the Yakima Herald and then was hired by the Seattle
Post-Intelligencer, where he became the first beat writer for the Seattle Supersonics. He went to California for a while, was an editor of the Hollywood Citizen-News and of the Hollywood Reporter, then returned to the Seattle P-I as the beat writer for the Seattle Mariners and later as one of the city’s first radio sports personalities.
What was your first race or memory of hydroplane racing?
My first memory goes way back beyond my involvement in racing. I finally got a chance to go to a Seafair unlimited race with some die-hard hydro friends and secured a great spot on the beach. I was very young and a little overwhelmed by the crowds and activity, I didn’t last long and had to leave, but I still have and cherish the memory of those couple of hours.