Seafair has been significant for me, since I was a young boy. From my father dropping me off near the lake on his way to work, so I could spend the day watching the boats run, to eventually competing in the race, to broadcasting the race live on KIRO television, Seafair has been an enjoyable week for me my entire life.
Even though my racing days are over, I’m grateful to still be involved. My relationship with the great people at KIRO means as much to me as my relationships with the individuals who worked with me on the boats I drove. Broadcasting over eight hours of live action can be a daunting job, but the people at KIRO make it fun, from beginning to end. I’m proud to be associated with them.
This year, Seafair was extraordinarily special, because I was given the honor and privilege to drive Bill Muncey’s refurbished Atlas Van Lines- “The Blue Blaster!” This boat is special and the man who drove it was special as well. He was simply “THE Man.” Everyone who knew Bill or raced against him, held him in the highest regard, with respect and admiration, not only for his ability as a race driver, but for the man he was.
I was there that horrible day in Mexico when Bill Muncey died in that boat. It is a day that I, and everyone who has ever been involved in the sport, will remember forever. It was a great honor for me to take laps this year in that boat. I know Bill would be happy that The Blue Blaster ran again, looking beautiful, in his honor.
A dear friend of mine, Don Mock, led the project to rebuild the boat. He dedicated nearly five years of his life to make the moment happen. He was surrounded by people, both men and women, who were as passionate as he was about the project. I’m in awe of their dedication, hard work and skills. The Muncey family traveled from Southern California to be part of the ceremony. The media was there in full force for the occasion. So, the pressure was on!
These boats are not easy to make run well. The engines were built in the 1930’s, so old, worn out parts have to be used. There are literally thousands of things that can go wrong. After seeing how much work and care went into the project, I desperately wanted the boat to run perfectly and it didn’t disappoint! We had a problem on Saturday, but just like the original racers who built and raced this boat with Bill, the team stayed up late, pulled together, and fixed it. And, on Sunday morning, the “big day,” it ran flawlessly. I could not have been happier, even if I had won theAlbert Lee Cup again! I’m so proud of everyone who worked on the Blue Blaster!
One thing I have figured out, is that Seafair is special to me mostly because of the wonderful relationships associated with it. Relationships that I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy today. Frankly, I find it’s true of life in general. It’s not the activity I enjoy first and foremost, but the relationships that come with that activity. I’m luckier than anybody I know, because I’ve shared so many experiences with people I love to be with. This year’s Seafair is one experience that I will remember forever.