Announcement Module
No announcement yet.

1980's Boat Racing Videos

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 1980's Boat Racing Videos

    Good morning,

    I recently found a small collection of boat racing VHS tapes at my dad's house, mostly from the 1980's (and one very brief tape that looks like the 1950's). I've had them digitized and just uploaded them all to YouTube this morning.

    My father (Joe Stager Jr) and grandfather (Joe Stager Sr) were alky drivers for many years who raced largely in the NY/NJ area. I just picked up the digitized copies last night so haven't seen all of the footage yet (there's several hours worth) but I thought there are probably some folks who will appreciate the shot of nostalgia. The quality is so-so as most of the tapes had some amount of degradation. The races are a little tough to see at times but there is also some great footage from driver meetings and the pits. In the small amount I've watched I've seen a ton of names & boats (Rusnak, Kirts, Augustine, Shakeshaft, Andrews, LaRose, Voss, & Harrison to name a few).

    For those that are interested I'd love getting some help at identifying the location of some of the races. Most of the tapes were poorly labeled with minimal info. I guessed on the year of the Fulton tape as it could be '86, '87, or '88 though I think it's '88 b/c my dad rolled his Butts 500 Hydro that year and the accident was recorded around 9:50 into the video. Please feel free to comment w/ location/year suggestions. There's also a US Title Series Promo video from the early 80's that has interviews with a very young Chick LaRose and Gary Augustine.

    I hope these bring back some great memories for the guys I grew up watching. I've recently re-joined the boat racing world in Region 1 and it's been pretty great re-connecting with an outstanding community of people.

    Happy watching!

    Chris Stager (78-B)

    US Title Series Promo (unsure of date):

    Canandaigua Hydro Spectacular (Sept, 1981):

    "Outboard Racing" (no known dates/location, tape starts w/ the end of a USTS Promo tape set to "Take On Me" then cuts to footage from Depue):

    "Boat Racing 1982" (unknown locations):

    Fulton Hydro Spectacular (Sept, 1988 I think):

    Joe Stager Sr Boat Racing Video (looks like 1950's):

  • #2

    Re: 1980's Boat Racing Videos

    Chris, the Canandaigua video is mislabeled as occurring on 9/13/81. That regatta was in mid-August 1981. Bill Walker and I towed the Region 4 Safety Boat to Canandaigua from the Augustine's place in Laurel, MD behind my Ford truck. I recall racing against your father, "Major" Joe, at several regattas before he staged that Canandaigua regatta. -- Dave Whitford


    • Joe Tomaini
      Joe Tomaini commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi Chris. I remember racing against your dad in the mid to late 70's. Wasn't he also a professional cyclist? Nice guy!

    • Stager-B78
      Stager-B78 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Dave. I'll update the video tonight when I get home. I was only 4 years old then so couldn't remember the exact date.

      Joe--yes he was--amateur cyclist to be sure (back when amateurism was a thing) but he competed in '68 Olympics in cycling. It's great to hear so many people liked him

  • #3

    Re: 1980's Boat Racing Videos

    Chris, you dad was one of my best friends, we have so many memories of him and going to the races. Thanks for posting, I would love to get a copy of the DVD's if possible. I know I made some from 8 mm film and I every so often watch them again.


    • Stager-B78
      Stager-B78 commented
      Editing a comment
      Bob--dad talks about you in the fondest terms. Some of my greatest memories as a child involved you and your family. I reconnected with Don recently (not sure if you use Facebook but I sent you a message too a while back). Dad doesn't use computers (at ALL) but I know he'd love to hear from you. If you're interested I can send you his number.

      I don't have DVD's of the videos--they were on VHS tapes and I had them converted to digital copies. I'll do another post about this but I would be happy to make copies on thumb drives and send to anyone who is interested.

  • #4

    Re: 1980's Boat Racing Videos

    If anyone would like a copy of any of the videos I'd be happy to put them on a thumb drive and mail them out. Just let me know what video you want and I'll get it done.


    • #5

      Re: 1980's Boat Racing Videos

      Hard to keep a great name like Stager out of racing forever!
      Stager-B78 likes this.


      • #6

        Re: 1980's Boat Racing Videos

        Chris, just FYI, if anyone can be named the "Father of the USTS", it should go to Chick LaRose. When I met Chick in the late 1960's- early '70s in Ogdensburg, NY, he (and I) were members of the now-defunct Saint Lawrence Valley Boating and Racing Association (SLVBRA). Oscar Martin, a barber in Huelveton, was then the sparkplug in the Club who worked hard to schedule the races. Chick became his protégé.

        ​Chick organized the first USTS races (maybe not called that then) in a little stretch of a forgotten North Country river near Potsdam, NY. The rest as they say, is history. Chick ran those races for at least 2 years . . . maybe 3, in the late 1980s.

        ​The SLVBRA Club philosophy then -- like the Hydro Club de Quebec -- was that the PRO racers should be paid for their performance and appearance. As such, the Club paid generous prize money by the heat and appearance money just for showing up and participating. That philosophy paid for a lot of my boat-racing trips into Quebec and at the SLVBRA races.

        ​So Chris, I applaud your father's monumental accomplishment to apply that same philosophy to that August 1981 Canandaigua regatta for both Inboards and PRO outboards, in the Hydro Club de Quebec model. That he ever got the necessary Canandaigua support is nothing short of heroic.

        ​I know that because about a year later I tried to apply the same Inboard-PRO Outboard payout format on Lake Norman north of Charlotte, NC. We were moderately successful because the sponsor -- Optimist Club of Charlotte -- lost no money, but it was not the money-maker for the Optimists that I'd hoped for. That was primarily because the Club consisted of old men who chose not to go out and hustle ads for the program.

        ​The SLVBRA and Hydro-Club de Quebec formulae relied on club members beating the bushes for soliciting ads for a Regatta program. This activity generated the prize money and payouts for travel expenses, thereby making the boat-racer profile as a true PRO enterprise.

        ​Somehow USTS has lost sight of that professionalism so that the drivers are still paying their own way in an expensive "hobby". So much is that shame.


        • Stager-B78
          Stager-B78 commented
          Editing a comment
          Dave, Thank you for the info and the compliment (I'll pass it on to my dad). I remember going to those races Chick put on in the early years of the USTS around the St Lawrence area--they were always well attended and extremely well run. Our family was very close with several of the Canadians (Jeff Lytle, Roy Alexander, Wes Smith, & Henk Engel) so we traveled to many Canandian races as well and I remember how well the Hydro Club de Quebec ran their events.

          I was too young at the time of the Canandaigua boat race to know what it took to put on but I do know that Candandaigua is not an easy place to hold a race. There was a lot of push back from the "lake home owners" and the town board was initially very opposed. My dad ended up drinking a glass of castor oil in front of the board to show them how innocuous it was to the environment. It must have worked b/c they signed off on the race shortly after that. He lost a few friends in the community as a result. There are so few people willing to do the work it takes to put on a race so I commend your efforts as well. In the short time I've been with the SSOA I've been fortunate enough to see some pretty incredible guys doing a ton of work to keep this sport thriving in the Northeast.

          By the way, I was on Lake Norman literally last week and kept telling my wife--man this would be a great spot for a boat race. Good choice!

      • #7

        Re: 1980's Boat Racing Videos

        Chris, I give most of the success of PRO racing to Joe Stager and Paul O. They handled the marketing part and put on some great races. It was done right and publicized extensively. They attracted the best drivers from all parts of the US and Canada. They both were able to get major sponsors which now days is so hard to do. I have the utmost respect for Joe.


        • Stager-B78
          Stager-B78 commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks Bob. Very kind words. I will pass them on to my dad for sure. I still think of boat races when I see signs for Miller Beer---he had them sponsor every race I can remember. It's too bad the major sponsors aren't as readily available anymore.

      • #8

        Re: 1980's Boat Racing Videos

        I'm not sure of where your info came about the USTS and its professionalism, but let me give you a few facts. I will post what your comment was and then post some thoughts.
        Somehow USTS has lost sight of that professionalism so that the drivers are still paying their own way in an expensive "hobby". So much is that shame.

        ​First of all we are recognized as the professional club for Pro racing and race as the Title Series from Florida up thru the Midwest with the Nationals at Depue, Illinois for over 30 years in a row with the best sponsor on the planet in The Depue Men's Club. We have a payout for travel at each and every race with the goal of 10k per race. In the last 20 years we have paid out over 500k in sponsorship monies.

        ​We continue to look for sponsorships for our races as well as corporate sponsorship and continue to put on the fastest 4 hour program in boat racing.


        • Quote
        • Comment
        • Flag
        • Like

        ddalton, and like this.


        • DeanFHobart
          DeanFHobart commented
          Editing a comment
          In addition to Ray’s input, on the USTS web site the USTS was started in 1982.