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Some Good News From Coeur d'Alene

By David Cole - Coeur d'Alene Press

Hydroplane race sanctioning body H1 unlimited on Friday named a new Coeur d'Alene-based group that will be working to stage hydroplane races on Lake Coeur d'Alene next summer.

The group, Coeur d'Alene Hydroplane Regatta LLC, will be calling its planned Aug. 14-16 event the Coeur d'Alene Silver Cup Unlimited.

"We are very pleased to enter into this agreement with this new organization made up of very influential members of the Coeur d'Alene community who are passionate about returning our sport to their beautiful locale," said Steve David, chairman of H1.

A lot of work remains to be done, he said, including getting necessary permits. But the cooperative agreement aligns H1's series "with a very dedicated, capable group who are willing to do what it takes, including investing their own money, to make this race happen in 2015."

He said the owners, drivers and officials associated with H1's racing series enjoyed the 2013 experience in Coeur d'Alene. The Diamond Cup returned that year after decades without a race, but it only lasted one year, with the organizers generating a rooster tail of debts.

"We are all excited at the prospect of racing in that beautiful community and venue again in the future," David said.

Coeur d'Alene Hydroplane Regatta LLC is led by Pat Stroud and Keith Allen, of Coeur d'Alene, according to records filed with the Idaho Secretary of State.

"It is important to note that the 2013 race was a huge success from every standpoint except capturing the revenue," Stroud said Friday.

The bills didn't get paid because of a leadership failure, he said.

"We, through the 2013 experience, have learned from those mistakes and will be correcting them," Stroud said.

"We feel comfortable that we can capture the revenue that was lost in the prior event," Allen said Friday.

Allen was the land-operations manager for the 2013 Diamond Cup races.

"He did a magnificent job as land manager in 2013, (and) I believe his experience comes mostly from his time at the Tri-Cities (unlimited hydroplane) races," Stroud said.

Stroud and Allen said the Diamond Cup organizers made it too hard to purchase tickets to the event.

"Many people told us later they didn't know where, when or how to even purchase tickets for the event," Stroud said.

Another problem, he said, was boat access to the log boom for spectators. "The log boom access was not patrolled properly, nor was there any control over who tied up and who in the boat had paid" to tie up, Stroud said. He said he and Allen have recruited the entire volunteer staff from 2013. "They are standing by for instructions," he said.

Stroud was the owner-operator of Shady Rest at Wolf Lodge Bay, and also Anchor Inn and Maggie's Saloon in Coeur d'Alene. He was the operations manager at the George Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska, a facility that regularly hosted major sporting and entertainment events. He did 110 shows at the arena, he said.

Before leaving Anchorage, he owned and operated a restaurant there.

Allen, a local entrepreneur, spent a dozen years doing volunteer operations work for the Tri-Cities hydroplane races. Allen said he and Stroud plan to dissolve the LLC and create a nonprofit in its place, ensuring operations are much more transparent.

Several influential people in the community have been asked if they would support hydroplane races if there was new management, he said. The response was an overwhelming yes, he said.

Allen and Stroud have already begun forging relationships with the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office and Idaho Department of Lands, two agencies that approve important permits for the races, he said.

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