1909 Peoria to Henry Race

The Third Annual Peoria to Henry Race

"Skipalong" Winner of Time Prize, and "Pronto" of the Henry Trophy Cup

Fifty Boats Started in This Successful Event of the Illinois Valley Yacht Club

By A. T. Griffith, (Special Telegraphic Report to Motor Boat)

Skipalong, owned, designed and built by R. H. Truitt, of Chillicothe, Ohio, won the time prize in the Webb endurance handicap of the Illinois Valley Yacht Club of Peoria on Saturday, June 19th. Mr. Truitt won the second annual race last season with Adieu and set up new Illinois River records, but his performance this season eclipsed all previous marks. Skipalong covered the upstream course for thirty-four miles in an elapsed time of 1 hour, 31 minutes and 31 seconds — an average of 22.31 miles an hour. She is a 34-footer, and is equipped with a six-cylinder Roberts motor. Ringless, a Red Wing model, 34 feet long, and equipped with identically the same motor, was Skipalong's most formidable rival. This boat, owned by Dennis & Wilde, of Peoria, covered the course in the elapsed time of 1 hour, 32 minutes, and was delayed two or three minutes early in the race. The crack Burlington (Iowa) entry, Blanche C, owned by Warren Beckwith, broke down just as the gun fired to send away the three fliers which started from the scratch.

The Henry Trophy Cup was won by Pronto, owned by G. E. Smith, of Peoria, and the Ann G Ann, owner E. H. Bradley, of Peoria, was second in the Class B boats. Mora D, owned by D. S. Brown, of Peoria, won first prize in the Class A event for cruisers.

Fifty-two boats were entered, fifty started, and forty-one finished. Four were disqualified for over-running their handicaps. The handicapping, done by H. G. Wasson and George L. McClure, was remarkably good. Eighteen boats crossed the line in the ten minutes following the finishing time. The weather was ideal for the sport and large crowds packed the guest boat, the steamer David Swain, and lined the river banks from the start to the finish line.

Efforts to reduce the record over the thirty-four miles intervening between Peoria and Henry seemed to be the principal object of the fifty-two entrants for the third annual endurance handicap of the Illinois Valley yacht Club. These efforts not only occupied the attention of the competing motorboatmen, but also attracted the attention of the enthusiasts throughout the entire length of the Illinois valley, and even on the Mississippi River. The previous record was established last June by R. H. Truitt with Adieu. Equipped with a six-cylinder, 60-hp. Roberts motor, the Chillicothe 32-footer covered the upstream course in 1 hour, 37 minutes and 57 seconds, the best previous performance of a motorboat on the Illinois River.

Before the start of the race, five boats were considered to have a chance to beat this mark and to win, with the cash prizes hung up for best time, the title to the championship of the Illinois River. Peoria enthusiasts favored the Ringless, and her preliminary performances gained a host of followers.

At Chillicothe, motorboat owners connected with the I.V.Y. Club were backing two favorites. The first, of course, was Skipalong. This boat was launched only four days before the race started. The second boat at Chillicothe which had its followers was Meixner II, owned by F, Meixner and son, 33 feet over all, and equipped with a three-cylinder 36-hp. Seitz motor.

The Burlington club of the M.V.P.B.A., sent over Blanche C, owned by Secretary Warren Beckwith of that club. Podie III, owned by H. D. McNalley, of Peoria, a 32-footer, equipped with a four-cylinder Continental motor, was also credited with a chance at the time prize. No exceptional speed was looked for from Caduca, Joseph F. Callender's entry from Chicago, though that craft made a remarkable showing in the semi-speed department, as did M.E.D., owned by F. T. McFadden, of Havana, Ill.

Although the speed classes of several different cities was represented, all boat owners were members of the Illinois valley Club, for the race, which was inaugurated two years ago by Commodore Thomas H. Webb, is open to club members only. The two former cup winners were starters in this third race. Rezwat, owned by H. L. Tawzer, took down the Citizens of Henry silver trophy the first year, and Kanowa, under the name of Gyp, owned by W. C. Estep, won the trophy from Rezwat last Spring.

The race this season was divided into two classes. All boats under ten miles an hour were rated as Class A, and all above that speed went into Class B. This was merely to divide money prizes, however, and had nothing to do with the handicapping which was all based on actual performances over a measured course. For the winner of Class A, a prize of $20 in cash was offered and the Commodore Wilde silver trophy; the second boat received a $15 prize, and the third $5 in cash. The winner of the Class B division received $30 and the Citizens of Henry trophy; second, $20; and third, $10 in cash.

The Commodore Bradley cup for the fastest time was won by Skipalong, to which was added the cash prize of $50 from the City of Henry.

President E. S. Osborn, of the Western Power Boat Association, was among the distinguished yachtsmen who officiated on the judge's stand, as was Emil G. Schmidt, owner of the Bonito, which craft is expected to win the Great Lakes eighteen-foot sailing championship this summer.

The following committees officiated: Judges — E. S. Osborn, president, Western Power Boat Association; Robert E. Powers, Emil G. Schmidt, Leroy Cook and George A. Burt. Starters — William H. Ohl, Richard Lawrence, George H. Davis and George McClure. Handicappers — Harry G. Wasson and H. W. Kellogg. Racing Committee — E. H. Bradley, R. H. Truitt and D. S. Brown

(Transcribed from MotorBoat, June 25, 1909, pp. 36, 37)

[Thanks to Greg Calkins for help in preparing this page — LF]