As kids we learn at an early age that humans have a built in desire to compete with one another. We raced our Schwinn Orange Krates, challenged each other to see who could eat a slice of pizza in the least bites, got to the bottom of who could spit water the farthest, and later in life may have bloodied each other up in an attempt to impress the Prom Queen... who, inevitably, paid no attention and left the party with some senior who looked like he should have graduated 4 years prior. Competition is in our DNA. We are born with the undeniable urge to compete with every other person on the planet and as we get older the only thing that changes are the stakes. This past weekend was no different. The only thing that changed was that instead of racing that old Orange Krate around the block, the boys (and girls) were racing their tricked out boats up and down the Parker Strip in hopes of taking home some cold, hard cash and the right to call themselves King Of The River!


So, how is it that that childhood competitive streak we all have turned into on of the greatest endurance boat races in the history of boats or racing? Well, in 1963 the Parker 9 Hour Enduro emerged as the brainchild of a couple Parker locals who never left that competitive itch behind them and had to know who was the baddest of the bad on the Parker Strip. Running flat out on the waters of the Colorado River for 9 hours straight wasn't just about who had the deepest pockets and could go out and lay down the clams for the fastest thing on the water. No, in order to win the Parker Enduro you had to have a solid and fast machine, a reliable, organized crew backing you up, the physical wherewithal to take a beating for hours at a time, and last but not least, more than your fair share of luck. It was 9 hours! No breaks. No slow down and take it easy. Just 9 hours of white knuckle, fervent competitive determination. That's what made the Enduro great... It took heart and a passion for the race itself.


Over the years the people of Parker, AZ and the race itself have seen everything from course layout, to rules and regulations, to race organizers come and go and, this year, with more of the same issues afoot the big question was, will the race even happen? The heart and passion it takes to race the Enduro often spills over into the logistics of the race and when that happens it can become a volatile political environment. The last few years there had been a growing divide amongst the racers and folks that surround the historic race. Concerns about handicaps and class rules changing annually, plus questions about how the funds from the race were handled had some folks looking for some change. That change came in the form of Dave Johnson of Dave was approached to help head a change in the way the race was organized and, while he admittedly had no experience with promoting a boat race, he accepted the challenge laid before him. Being someone who grew up enjoying the river with his family and having a deep respect for the community of Parker, Dave didn't want to see the event get thrown to the wayside and a plan was soon hatched to reorganize the race. While there was some reservations and even some animosity regarding the change, Dave and crew put their heads down and set to the task of resurrecting the rich history of the Parker Enduro.


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Due to some posturing from the various sides of the table over rule changes, the event planning was put on a very truncated time table. With just one month to get final permits, planning, and funding in place the Bluewater 336 Enduro team was met with a stiff challenge and many sleepless nights to get things in order in time for the scheduled race date of October 25th and 26th. Nonetheless, the powers that be were able to get all the pieces in place and, come October 24th, the beach outside the Bluewater Casino was starting to look like a proper pit area with teams putting the last minute touches on their respective programs in order to be ready for qualifying the following day. The wheels, or in this case the props, were in motion. The Bluewater 336 Enduro by Teague Custom Marine was happening!


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Qualifying day went down without a hitch. Teams were given ample time to lay down their best qualifying lap for start position the following day and many of the boats took the time to get their boats dialed in and any last minute bugs worked out. This extra time was a valuable commodity for many teams, some of whom were in new boats or had to thrash the day before with repairs and in some cases full repower. One such team was the OCM team of Tim McDonald and Mike Quindazzi. Tim purchased his STV just two days prior to the Enduro and had to do a power swap to make the boat class legal the day before qualifying. As such the first time Tim drove the boat was in qualifying!
This along with a host of other very cool things is what make the Enduro such a unique event. Very few types of racing are accessible enough to be able to go out and buy a boat the week of the race and come out and be competitive. Desert racing is one of the few that come to mind. Endurance racing is about so much more than just the winners. It's a team effort where the whole team pulls together with the same end goal... Finishing.


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By Saturday all of the teams had gotten the chance to work the bugs out, make a few tweaks and thrash to get ready for the big show. It was race day and all the posturing and politics didn't matter anymore. What mattered was having a fun, safe race for all the fine folks who laid down their hard earned cash and grabbed some friends and said 'Let's go racin'!'. And race they did! The Enduro started with a Le Mans style start and pack of provoked die-hards shot across the water in a fury of adrenaline and nerves toward the turn at the top of the course just in front of the popular Pirate's Den Resort. While the new 12 mile course did spread the boats out considerably compared to the shorter course of years past it also allowed for the teams to really stretch their rigs out and was easier on the equipment with the water being much smoother than the washing machine of last year.


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As the race wore on the attrition began to set in. The oft favorite GN boats had a rough day as almost all were retired by various prop and prop shaft woes. This then became a battle of the outboards as the number 34 boat of Fred Bowden and Chip Watkins battled it out with Stevie Davis, Todd Haig, and Freddy Brennan in the big yellow 373 Nordic. But, there was another entry in the mix as well. The number 7 STV of Tim McDonald and Mike Quindazzi was doing the impossible. It was in contention for the overall win with a driver who had never even been to Parker much less raced the Enduro! As the laps wore down the battle was focused on the 34 boat and boat number 7 of Team OCM. Unfortunately the 34 boat ran into problems on the last lap handing the win to the OCM ship, but what a finish it would have been! Even still a boat piloted by an Enduro rookie that was thrown together just days before the race had won the most historic boat race on the west coast!

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It was a great and memorable finish to a race that many never thought would start. A race that came to fruition against all odds won by a team that, statistically, never should have won. That's what the competitive spirit, engrained in all of us, is capable of... Winning against the the odds, out of sheer heart and determination, to lay claim to our rightful prize.

See you on the water...

Tom Leigh (PinkTaco)

A full list of pictures from the Bluewater 336 Enduro by Teague Custom Marine is available to view and high res downloads are available to purchase through my website at