1970 Indiana Governor's Cup

New Propeller Powers Budweiser To Indiana Victory

By Graham Taylor, Sports Editor, The Madison Courier

Madison, Ind. --- A long distance telephone call from Madison to Dayton, Ohio, only 12 hours before the start of the 19th annual Indiana Governor's Cup Race not only produced Miss Budweiser's first Madison Regatta victory, but it helped place Miss Bud right alongside the Delta Queen as the Ohio River's number one Showboat.

Owner Bernie Little and driver Dean Chenoweth telephoned Dave "Salty" Walther in Dayton with an SOS. Twelve hours later, Miss Budweiser was on her way to a championship exhibition worth $6,000.

"We got a new prop that you just wouldn't believe," the boyish-looking Chenoweth said after receiving the Indiana Governor's Cup from Gov. Edgar Whitcomb.

"This boat just sits there and floats with this new wheel. I didn't think a prop could make that much difference, but it has a different pitch. It's just another elephant ear but it's sure a winner. Watch us go from here on in."

Chenoweth's evaluation of the propeller, removed from Miss U.S. (the former Miss Budweiser II), was more than accurate. It whipped stiff competition the rest of the way after the gold, red and white thunderboat scored a perfect 1,200 points to give Little his first win at Madison.

"We called Salty and told him we had to have this wheel down here," Little explained after the race. "He got our call shortly before midnight and he was here in Madison at 5 o'clock. We got Dean out on the course as soon as they opened things for testing."

Chenoweth, with Little's arm still around his neck, butted in. "We've owned this prop for three years. It's the one Bill (Sterett) used last year to win the national championship. We played around with new ones for three races but knew we had to get this one off the showboat and put it back in use. I knew once that I ran that this was the prop for a winner."

The secret weapon -- a "showboat" propeller -- powered Miss Budweiser past Miss Owensboro, Notre Dame, Myr Sheet Metal and Miss Madison for the top prize.

Taking 800 points into the championship heat, Chenoweth battled with Leif Borgersen in Notre Dame for three laps before Miss Budweiser took the lead as Notre Dame lost speed going into the lower turn.

Miss Owensboro, driven by Billy Sterett, finished second in the Governor's Cup standings behind Miss Budweiser, beating out Notre Dame by a scant 44 points. Borgersen was third with 925 markers. Myr, winner of three straight races after bowing to Miss Budweiser in the season's opener at Tampa, Fla., had to settle for fourth with 825 points. Miss Madison took fifth with 752.

Little had nothing but praise for Chenoweth, "He's King of the Ohio just like Bud is King of beers, " claimed the Miss Budweiser owner. "He grew up on this river and he knows everything there is to know about it. Why don't you just say Dean owns a share of the Ohio River? He drove a beautiful race and even won that final heat when he really didn't have to."

Chenoweth had a reason for making an all-out effort to overtake Notre Dame in the championship heat. "When you win the finals, you really feel like you won the whole race," he said. "Finishing second is no fun.

"Last year I lost the national championship by 100 points. This year I'm going to get as many points as I can. I want to win that championship this time."

The victory over Notre Dame was especially sweet for the Budweiser racing team. "We had a little rivalry going on," said Little. "We put some Budweiser cans in the cockpit of their boat and they had some shamrock stickers glued to our boat."

Little predicted that Miss Budweiser would be a major contender for national championship honors after picking up the silver and mahogany Governor's Cup. "We got a fast boat and a hell of a driver," he said. "Dean's a charger and he'll be right in the thick of things the rest of the way."

(Reprinted from Miss Budweiser Press Information Souvenir Magazine 1971)