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Boat show in Brainerd lakes area brings out best of bygone era

Baby Bootlegger raced during the golden era of Gold Cup racing. She brought the Gold Cup back East with her win in 1924, and kept it there with another win a year later. She competed again the next two years before the rules were changed. Submitted photo1 / 6
Lee Anderson and his wife acquired the Gold Cup legend, Baby Bootlegger, in 2016, and he takes it out for a spin as other classic Gold Cup boats grace the waters near Nisswa. Submitted photo2 / 6
John Shibe, co-owner of the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team, commissioned John L. Hacker to build Ethyl-Ruth IV to race for the 1934 Gold Cup at Lake George, New York. The 27-foot Gold Cup G-7 Race Boat was acquired by Lee Anderson and his wife in 2005. The boat resides in Nisswa and was rechristened with the original name, Ethyl-Ruth IV. Submitted photo3 / 6
The 1930 Gar Wood 30-foot Harmsworth Hydroplane was built in early 1930 by Gar Wood and was known as Miss America IX, the ninth of 10 Miss America Unlimited Harmsworth hydroplanes, and survived her glory days as the first boat to break the 100 mph barrier. Submitted photo4 / 6
John Allen smiles for a photo in Classic Boating magazine. Submitted photo5 / 6
Lee and Penny Anderson of Nisswa acquired "Miss Crude," a 1926 Pembroke 27-foot Gold Cup Race Boat, and it is one of the boats in the Gold Cup & Race Boat Regatta hosted by the Bay Harbor Supper Club on Saturday, Aug. 25, on the north shore of Gull Lake. Submitted photo6 / 6

Motorboats from "the golden era of racing" return to the waters of Gull Lake for its annual Bar Harbor Classic Boat Show.

The free boat show at Bar Harbor Supper Club in Lake Shore, presented by the Bob Speltz Land O Lakes chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, will be 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, on the north shore of Gull Lake near the channel to Upper Gull Lake.

"This is the first show that has a specific feature like we're having now: a rendezvous of Gold Cup and race boats from the '20s, '30s, '40s and '50s from all over the country, including California, Washington state, New Hampshire and Michigan," said John Allen, owner of the supper club.

The Antique and Classic Boat Society is an international organization founded in 1974 with more than 7,000 members and over 50 local chapters around the world. The society chose Bar Harbor Supper Club and the Gull Lake area to host its classic wooden boat show.

"Vintage race boats were long and sleek with cockpit and control just aft of the engine. But there was often a covered cockpit in front of the engine to qualify the boat as a 'family' runabout for non-racing outings," according to a Gold Cup & Race Boat Regatta booklet for Saturday's event.

"Many of these boats should be in the Smithsonian as opposed to being on a trailer at our show," Allen said about the rarity and beauty of the race boats that will be on display.

"I don't think everybody in the community understands what an extraordinary historical event this show will be. It is likely the largest assemblage of this vintage of race boats from the '20s and '30s since the '20s and '30s in one spot, and it makes it extraordinarily unique for us to host it."

According to Jim Wangard, one of the publishers of Classic Boating magazine, the race boats

are "a special breed of the highest pedigree ... designed by the top designers and built by esteemed shops of the best materials."

Wangard even helps put out a calendar about classic motorboats, which are described as elegant and fast and "sculpted in mahogany, brilliantly varnished, fixtured in chrome, and powered by reciprocating engines of vast displacement" that provide a sense of exhilaration.

"After a race boat's career on the national circuit, it was often sold and still very competitive at local boat club regattas. When the boat's hull or engine wore out, the boat was often put aside and frequently slipped into obscurity," Wangard wrote in the booklet for the Bar Harbor event.

"Often the search for it took years across many state lines by tenacious searchers. Today, it's safe to say that every surviving race boat has been found and accounted for. We are privileged to have so many top tier and special one-off creation racers on display for our viewing pleasure."

The 1924 Henry B. Nevins 30-foot Gold Cup race boat known as "Baby Bootlegger" will be part of the regatta. Co-owner Lee Anderson often takes what Wangard considers the most recognizable and admired vintage Gold Cup boat for a spin near Nisswa.

"Saturday's event is made possible because you've got a number of really established classic boat collectors in this area ... so I think the Brainerd lakes area has become a favored destination for people with antique boats," Allen said of the over 100 boats that will be displayed.

"Following the 2015 international antique boat show that was at Bar Harbor, people found out very quickly that this was a highly desirable area to bring a classic boat for a show and that the hospitality of the community was outstanding and options for housing and boating were terrific."

If you go

What: Gold Cup & Race Boat Regatta including more than 100 motorboats, some from the "golden era of racing."

When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

Where: The Bar Harbor Supper Club on the north shore of Gull Lake will host the free annual classic boat show. The club is located about five minutes west of Highway 371 at the Interlachen Road (also known as County Highway 77) and Rainbow Road (also known as County Highway 78).

For more information: Call the Bar Harbor Supper Club at 218-963-2568.

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