GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Summer doesn’t officially end for three more weeks, but Labor Day is sort of that reminder that Fall is quickly approaching. It’s the last holiday of the season, and it’s the last hydroplane race of the Cal-Ore season. The Wild River Labor Day Regatta on the Rogue River. There’s really three key events on the Cal-Ore schedule: the Tom Rice Memorial Day Boatnik Race, the Lower Rogue Challenge on 4th of July in Gold Beach and then Monday’s Regatta. Tyler McGinnis of Gold Beach came into the race as the points leader, but he says he comes to Grants Pass for more than just hydroplanes.
“Every year it’s a big family-occasion, and we come over,” McGinnis said. “We camp, and oftentimes there’s 30 of us so it’s kind of a good closure to the summer.”
“Labor Day is the last holiday of the season,” longtime racer Don Burnison said, “and for some of the people, they enjoy coming to the river, spending the weekend on the river and getting to watch the races. It’s a great family sport, and everybody seems to get along very well.”
But someone has to win, and that someone was Tyler McGinnis. Jeff Lewis finished second. Joel and Justin Hood followed. McGinnis is on quite a roll this year. He finished first in the Boatnik, but a rules technicality cost him the first leg which pushed him back to third, but then he won the Gold Beach race, and he takes Monday’s contest and therefore the season standings. McGinnis has his own business in Gold Beach and was recently married so it makes this win even more impressive because he hasn’t had a lot of time to practice this summer.
“Well, this summer, not a lot,” McGinnis said. “I had a busy summer so not a lot of time to work on the race boat stuff so I was fortunate to even make it here.”
“This is his moment in time,” Burnison said, “and he is an excellent racer. He’s got excellent equipment, and he’s going to be dominant until somebody else comes along.”