1964 Dakota Cup

Year of the Green Dragon (excerpt)

by Eileen Crimmin; photos by Bob Carver

A new regatta at a new site, the Dakota Cup also was the first of three races on three consecutive weekends, which taught the unlimited contingent that this scheduling was too tight.

However, fresh from Gold cup and a 19-day interval between races, 11 boats converged upon the Garrison Reservoir course. From starting gun to finish, the race was a duel between Bardahl and Tahoe Miss.

Exide won one heat but blew out of the race with a blown engine. Tahoe Miss placed one-two in two heats.

Bardahl placed first in two heats and first in the Final to win the overall trophy. But that final was a heart-breaker.

Bardahl entered with 800 points, Tahoe Miss with 700. The overall winner had to win the Final. So when Tahoe Miss took the lead for three laps she looked like a sure victor. But in lap four Tahoe Miss went dead, leaving Bardahl the win.

With this event Chuck Thompson and Tahoe Miss acquired the title of "Hard Luck Boat." Bardahl became red hot and invincible with two victories in a row.

Observers began betting Bardahl would sweep the season. But a boat named Exide put a stop to that gamble.

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Dakota Cup sported two worries: how to cope with sudden 50 mph winds that sweep and die within minutes on the Dakota plains, and how to get drivers from lodging to pits 70 miles apart. Ron Musson commuted by piloting his own plane.

(Reprinted from the National Boat Racing 1965 Yearbook)