Everybody who lives in the Seattle Area knows about the Unlimited Hydroplane races. They’ve been a staple at Seafair since its inception in 1950. What many don’t know is that the same hydroplanes made famous at Seafair also raced on Lake Chelan.
Don’t believe me?
Feast your eyes on this 1958 Apple Cup Race pin, starring Miss Chelan!
Almost like the Ford Edsel, the Apple Cup Race lasted for only four years: 1957-1960. Stemming from the hydroplane craze brought to the region by Seafair, and happening in conjunction with the Apple Blossom Festival, the first Apple Cup Race was held May 5, 1957. The hydroplanes competing in the first race, in the winning order, were:
U-77 Miss Wahoo
U-28 Shanty I
U-8 Hawaii Kai III
U-27 Miss Seattle
U-4 Miss Bardahl
U-60 Miss Thriftway
U- 19 Miss Rocket
U-62 Thriftway Too
The second Apple cup was held May 11, 1958, and featured 11 hydroplanes, two more than the previous year. Only five hydroplanes were repeats: Miss Seattle, Miss Thriftway, Thriftway Too, Maverick, and Miss Bardahl (who took first place). The prize was $1,500, which is equivalent to about $12,500 today.
12 hydroplanes competed at the third Apple Cup Race on May 10, 1959, many of them the same hydros that raced the previous year. Miss Pay n’ Save, who had placed #10 in 1958, took first place, followed by Miss Bardahl and Miss Thriftway.
The final Apple Cup was held May 8,1960 and hosted 11 competitors. Miss Thriftway was the race’s winner, followed by Nitrogen and Miss Burien. Rising sponsor’s costs and crowd control problems contributed to the race’s cancellation.
Although the Apple Cup is now just a name of a Chelan cafe, vintage hydroplanes have returned to Chelan the first weekend in October for the last seven years for the Mahogany & Merlot event.
Interestingly, the hydroplane featured on the pin, U-97 Miss Chelan, is fictitious. She never raced in the Apple Cup and, in fact, never even existed.