Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum

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Reno Regatta Question

By Fred Farley - Unlimited Hydroplane Historian


When did the Reno Regatta start and end? - Les Bretthauer


The Reno Regatta started in 1959. The event was actually a continuation of the series of late-1950s races at Lake Tahoe. Charles Mapes was the head honcho of the Lake Tahoe races and owned the Mapes Hotel in Reno. Mapes also sponsored the Mapes Trophy, which was the headline event at Lake Tahoe from 1953 until 1958. The Mapes committee transferred to Pyramid Lake in 1959 and offered the Mapes Trophy there in 1959, 1960, and 1961.

Bill Stead and MAVERICK won the 1959 Mapes Trophy; Ron Musson and HAWAII KAI III won in 1960.

After Las Vegas defaulted on the 1960 APBA Gold Cup, which was declared "No Contest," the Reno Regatta organization put in a successful bid for the 1961 APBA Gold Cup. The race area at Pyramid Lake was located entirely within an Indian reservation. MISS CENTURY 21 and Bill Muncey won the 1961 Reno Regatta in a combination APBA Gold Cup/Mapes Trophy event, which was similar to the situation of those combination APBA Gold Cup/Indiana Governor's Cup events a few years later at Madison.

The 1961 Reno Regatta was the last Unlimited event ever run at Pyramid Lake. To this day, the Unlimiteds have never been back. I never did hear an explanation as to why Charles Mapes withdrew his sponsorship of the Reno Regatta.

The Lake Tahoe series was revived in 1962 under new management (sponsored by Bill Harrah) and continued until 1965.

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