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Budweiser is pulling support for Unlimited Hydroplane racing after this year that means no more Miss Budweiser /images/graemlins/sad



[image]http://www.viperalley.com/gallery/data/500/137Bernie03.jpg[/image]

Budweiser ending support of unlimited hydroplane races
Associated Press

SEATTLE - After 41 years, Anheuser-Busch is ending its sponsorship of unlimited hydroplane racing after the 2004 season, the beer company says.

With its Miss Budweiser boats and heavy race sponsorship and promotion, St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch has been the major force in unlimited-class racing for decades. But the company announced Monday that it was cutting its ties to anything related to hydroplanes after this year.

"We constantly evaluate our marketing programs and have decided to reallocate our resources and not renew our series, team and event sponsorships after this season," the company said in a statement.

An Anheuser-Busch spokesman who did not wish to be identified said Tuesday that the company would not disclose how much money it contributed to the sport. He also did not immediately comment on its reason for withdrawing.

However, Bud's sponsorship had long been tied to its close relationship with Miss Budweiser team owner Bernie Little, who died last April. Little, a highly successful Budweiser distributor in Florida, dominated unlimited racing with his red-and-white Budweiser-sponsored boats since he and the beer company entered the sport in 1963, winning a record 23 national championships and 136 races.

"There's nothing like a champion retiring at the top of his or her game," Little's son and current Miss Budweiser hydroplane owner Joe Little told The Seattle Times. "We're excited about celebrating Miss Budweiser's farewell tour ... and we hope to bring home one last championship for Bernie Little, our team, race fans everywhere and Budweiser."

The company's decision also means the likely retirement of Miss Budweiser driver Dave Villwock, whose 41 career victories are third in circuit history, behind 62 for Bill Muncey and 61 for Chip Hanauer, who drove for Little from 1992-96.

Villwock told The Times he's interested in racing only Miss Budweiser on the Hydro-Prop circuit.

"This is probably my farewell season," he said.

He also worries money lost from Anheuser-Busch could cripple the sport that has struggled in recent years.

"Hopefully there will be a future for some form of supreme class of boat racing," he said.

Budweiser has sponsored the Hydro-Prop tour and individual races for the last five years, Hydro-Prop president Bart Garbrecht said Tuesday. Hydro-Prop is the governing body of the circuit.

This year, it is the title sponsor for three of the circuit's seven races: Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio, June 25-27 at Evansville, Ind.; Budweiser Madison Regatta, July 2-4 at Madison, Ind.; and Budweiser Columbia Cup, July 23-25 at Richland, Wash.

"We all knew this could happen when Bernie passed away," said Eric Radovich, director of public relations for Seafair, the Seattle summer festival that has culminated with an unlimited hydro race each year since 1951.

Budweiser's withdrawal isn't expected to immediately affect the Seafair race. Chevrolet is its title sponsor for the next two years, including this year's Aug. 8 competition.

Radovich said Tuesday that Anheuser-Busch contributed less than 5 percent of Seafair's approximately $3.5 million in sponsorships.

Villwock said Budweiser's withdrawal may have been influenced by the company always being called upon to bail out Hydro-Prop when a race needed money. He speculated that it also may have felt it no longer benefited from its sponsorship dollars.

"Hydro-Prop has never asked Bud to bail out an event since taking over the sport just over four years ago," Garbrecht said.

He would not disclose how much money Budweiser has contributed to Hydro-Prop over the years.

Budweiser team members have also criticized efforts by Hydro-Prop CEO Gary Garbrecht to bring more parity to the sport, most of which meant slowing down the Bud. The team had an estimated $2 million to $3 million annual budget, dwarfing those of other boats.

"You have to treat a sponsor with respect and a degree of fairness if they happen to be a competitor, and I don't know that that was the case," Villwock said.

Garbrecht is optimistic that new sponsors may be attracted to the sport with the Budweiser team gone.

"I expect to have that sponsorship replaced by the summer. There's a good side and a bad side to everything. Bud was certainly an intimidating sponsor with the team they had out on the water, and I'm not so sure if it didn't contribute to some major sponsors leaving the sport in the last 20 years," he said.
 

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Spectacular to watch - but it was always a one horse race. The sport will stagger for a while as it was Bud that got it the TV coverage - coverage I suspect will now diminish.

I preferred the piston engined boats anyway - they are more relatable than sticking a huge turbine engine in a boat.
 

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How fast are they? That think looks like a fighter jet for the water.
 

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Clint Sever said:
How fast are they? That think looks like a fighter jet for the water.
Not sure what their top speed is but they routinely crack 200mph in racing - which is huge considering they have to also go around corners to run laps, so if they run too wide, the tight cornering slower boats can catch up. Getting caught in their wake/water plume would be no fun.
 

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I don't understand, drinking and boating were made for each other. I would never have made it through high school with out them.
 

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Budweiser is getting tired of being compared to the similarity of its beer to the hydroplane----BOTH are close to water! /images/graemlins/supergrin.gif

Vipergts662 said:
Budweiser is pulling support for Unlimited Hydroplane racing after this year that means no more Miss Budweiser /images/graemlins/sad



[image]http://www.viperalley.com/gallery/data/500/137Bernie03.jpg[/image]

Budweiser ending support of unlimited hydroplane races
Associated Press

SEATTLE - After 41 years, Anheuser-Busch is ending its sponsorship of unlimited hydroplane racing after the 2004 season, the beer company says.

With its Miss Budweiser boats and heavy race sponsorship and promotion, St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch has been the major force in unlimited-class racing for decades. But the company announced Monday that it was cutting its ties to anything related to hydroplanes after this year.

"We constantly evaluate our marketing programs and have decided to reallocate our resources and not renew our series, team and event sponsorships after this season," the company said in a statement.

An Anheuser-Busch spokesman who did not wish to be identified said Tuesday that the company would not disclose how much money it contributed to the sport. He also did not immediately comment on its reason for withdrawing.

However, Bud's sponsorship had long been tied to its close relationship with Miss Budweiser team owner Bernie Little, who died last April. Little, a highly successful Budweiser distributor in Florida, dominated unlimited racing with his red-and-white Budweiser-sponsored boats since he and the beer company entered the sport in 1963, winning a record 23 national championships and 136 races.

"There's nothing like a champion retiring at the top of his or her game," Little's son and current Miss Budweiser hydroplane owner Joe Little told The Seattle Times. "We're excited about celebrating Miss Budweiser's farewell tour ... and we hope to bring home one last championship for Bernie Little, our team, race fans everywhere and Budweiser."

The company's decision also means the likely retirement of Miss Budweiser driver Dave Villwock, whose 41 career victories are third in circuit history, behind 62 for Bill Muncey and 61 for Chip Hanauer, who drove for Little from 1992-96.

Villwock told The Times he's interested in racing only Miss Budweiser on the Hydro-Prop circuit.

"This is probably my farewell season," he said.

He also worries money lost from Anheuser-Busch could cripple the sport that has struggled in recent years.

"Hopefully there will be a future for some form of supreme class of boat racing," he said.

Budweiser has sponsored the Hydro-Prop tour and individual races for the last five years, Hydro-Prop president Bart Garbrecht said Tuesday. Hydro-Prop is the governing body of the circuit.

This year, it is the title sponsor for three of the circuit's seven races: Budweiser Thunder on the Ohio, June 25-27 at Evansville, Ind.; Budweiser Madison Regatta, July 2-4 at Madison, Ind.; and Budweiser Columbia Cup, July 23-25 at Richland, Wash.

"We all knew this could happen when Bernie passed away," said Eric Radovich, director of public relations for Seafair, the Seattle summer festival that has culminated with an unlimited hydro race each year since 1951.

Budweiser's withdrawal isn't expected to immediately affect the Seafair race. Chevrolet is its title sponsor for the next two years, including this year's Aug. 8 competition.

Radovich said Tuesday that Anheuser-Busch contributed less than 5 percent of Seafair's approximately $3.5 million in sponsorships.

Villwock said Budweiser's withdrawal may have been influenced by the company always being called upon to bail out Hydro-Prop when a race needed money. He speculated that it also may have felt it no longer benefited from its sponsorship dollars.

"Hydro-Prop has never asked Bud to bail out an event since taking over the sport just over four years ago," Garbrecht said.

He would not disclose how much money Budweiser has contributed to Hydro-Prop over the years.

Budweiser team members have also criticized efforts by Hydro-Prop CEO Gary Garbrecht to bring more parity to the sport, most of which meant slowing down the Bud. The team had an estimated $2 million to $3 million annual budget, dwarfing those of other boats.

"You have to treat a sponsor with respect and a degree of fairness if they happen to be a competitor, and I don't know that that was the case," Villwock said.

Garbrecht is optimistic that new sponsors may be attracted to the sport with the Budweiser team gone.

"I expect to have that sponsorship replaced by the summer. There's a good side and a bad side to everything. Bud was certainly an intimidating sponsor with the team they had out on the water, and I'm not so sure if it didn't contribute to some major sponsors leaving the sport in the last 20 years," he said.
 
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