Parking deposit paid for hydro races

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COEUR d'ALENE - Money talks.

Organizers proposing to bring hydroplane races back to Lake Coeur d'Alene over Labor Day weekend have paid a $5,000 non-refundable deposit for parking spaces at the North Idaho Fairgrounds so race patrons can leave their cars and shuttle to Silver Beach where the hydros are supposed to roar.

Dane Dugan, North Idaho Fairgrounds general manager, said Monday that the Diamond Cup Regatta team made the payment May 31, a day before the June 1 deadline. It provides spots for 6,000 cars and 300 RVs.

"Those are the two things we have an agreement with them to provide," Dugan said Monday. "(We're) here to support it, if it's going to happen."

Doug Miller, race organizer, hasn't returned several messages from The Press, but said May 1 that the show would go on despite rumors that the race was in jeopardy of being canceled for a second straight year.

Miller couldn't be reached for comment Monday, but Herb Huseland, working with the event, told The Press in an email that Coeur d'Alene CDA Diamond Cup LLC., will be hosting a press event at 11 a.m. Thursday at 1710 West Riverstone Drive, just north of the Bardenay Restaurant.

Dugan said the entire parking deal will be finished after the holiday weekend, but it costs $1,500 a day to rent the car parking spaces.

The Labor Day races would be the seventh stop on the H1 Hydroplane Circuit, according to H1 Unlimited's website.

The races drew large crowds on Lake Coeur d'Alene in the 1950s and 1960s but were marred at the end of the run by underage drinking and fighting. Ultimately, waning enthusiasm and financial losses ended the annual event in 1968. The city of Coeur d'Alene banned hydroplane racing in 1996.

Miller organized a pair of exhibition races before last year's canceled event. Tickets for this year's event are listed for sale at TicketsWest.com.

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