Last weekend, all the dogs came out to play on the Northern California Delta for the 6th Annual Dog & Andy’s Vdrive Run at Windmill Cove Bar & Grill. Located just outside of Stockton, CA, the venue has been home to the event since its inception. Despite what the name implies, this charity-driven event has nothing to do with animal protection. Instead, it refers to Andy and “Dog” – two friends who started the event 6 years ago to help raise funds for their local San Joaquin County Sheriff’s department.


This event is a particularly fond one for me. I grew up on the Delta, boating with my parents in their 71 Sanger Flat Bottom. I’ve been going to Windmill Cove for over 50 years now, so when an opportunity comes up to cover a story on my home waters, I’m all in. Even better, I brought my parents along for the ride. Now in their 70’s, its always fun to come back to Windmill Cove and hear all the old stories of their shinanigans.



Of course, even after 50 years, when you visit home waters, you are bound to see people you know. This event draws participants from all over the West Coast, so even though I now live in Southern California, I ran into both NorCal and SoCal friends. Many of them, I’m sure you may even know, yourself. Take these two guys for instance….


If you’ve done any boating at all on the Parker Strip in Arizona, you’re bound to have seen this famous Vector. Father and Son duo, Jerry and Mick Jeffery spend most of their time on the Colorado River, where they now live full time. But once a year, the Delta beckons them for their summer vacation, and it times perfectly with the Dog & Andy’s show. If you happen to have seen my story about them here on RDP, you already know the famous history of the No. 527 Vector and its ties to the NorCal Delta. And while it’s not a V-drive and they weren’t actually IN the show, it was great to see them spectating from the water and taking in their last day on their Delta vacation.



Another really great meetup was as coincidental as it was welcomed. From almost the moment I walked onto the docks of the show, I had spotted my immediate favorite boat in the line up. Not sure if it was the incredible paint job, the colors scheme, the color coordinated blown big block, or the boat’s name, but something about it just had me at hello. I made a mental note to find the owner by the end of the day so I could invite him to do a more custom photo shoot for a special project I’m working on (more on that later). Later, while walking to my car to change camera batteries, a guy walking past me said hello and knew my name. Turns out it was Robert Robinson from Bakersfield, CA, whom I had met at the 2018 Flat Bottom Boogie, where he was showing his old (but still beautiful) Sanger Flatbottom. It was fantastic to see him again because he was such a nice guy. But when he invited me to come and check out his new boat, I was thrilled to discover that “The Joker” – the beautiful, blue and white Cole I was admiring earlier – was his!


We caught up for a minute before he invited me to come down and record him starting it up. You can see that little clip on the River Daves Place group page. Later, he went out and made some hot passes that brought everyone to their feet. And while I probably shouldn’t call him out like this in public, I feel compelled to do a PSA and say that I don’t condone doing passes like that without any safety gear. I’ve seen too many friends get taken out for good, and its just not worth the risk – especially for as nice a guy as Rob! However, in this case… all is well that ends well. And it did.


Later, while standing in line at the patio bar, I had what was probably my most full circle meetup moment of the day. As I’m standing there with my buddy Scott (Roger Thaat, on social media), my mom walked up and said… “Erick, do you know who is standing behind you?” I turned around and looked at the guy, and said… “well, no, I don’t”. She said this is Al Barbagelata! I was blown away. Back in 1992, my girlfriend at the time’s mom worked with Al up in Sacramento. Al was a drag boat racer and she knew how much I was into drag boats. My dad use to race them when I was a very young kid and I never got it out of my system. So, one day she tells me that she talked to this guy at work, Al, and he was going to let us drive down to Puddingstone Lake in San Dimas, CA, and hang out with their crew in the pits for the weekend. I was over the moon. I was probably around 22 years old at the time, and that was like being asked to host the Oscars or something. We spent the weekend watching them wrench and test and race, and just got the most up close and personal I had ever been to a real drag boat team. It was awesome.



Not too long after that I moved to Southern California and never saw Al again. However, in another ironic twist of fate, his crew chief and business partner at A & T Marine in Elk Grove, CA, ended up building my dad’s new motors for his 84 Scarab. And while I did stay in touch with Todd over all these years, I hadn’t seen Al since 1992. What a great encounter to be able to see him again, shake his hand, and tell him thanks again for the amazing experience. I’ve never forgotten it. But damn! We got old!!
We got our drinks and went back to his table, and who was he sitting with? None other than drag boat racing royalty, Steve Westerfield. Shane was out wondering around the show, but it was great to see everyone in one place and shoot the bull. My parents included.


As I wondered around with my camera that day, I got a lot of “hey’s” and “hello’s” from people I didn’t know, just because I was wearing my RDP gear. Seems that River Dave’s Place is no longer just about the local Colorado River scene. But its always nice to know you have your own tribe in the places you frequent the most.

Dog and Andy’s Vdrive Run has certainly become a must-see event for the V-drive and hotboat scene. And its wonderful to see a younger generation thats picking up where we are starting to leave off. If Dog & Andy’s continues to offer that confluence where people can witness these beautiful works of mechanical art, and the old timers can pass along their knowledge and skill, then I can see it lasting another 50 years. Congrats to Dog & Andy on another great event and for keeping the Vdrive community going strong.