Riggins 2006

To misquote a favorite movie line:

Feel the rhythm,
Feel the rhyme,
Get on up,
It's jetboat time!

We are rolling out at the crack of UGH Wednesday morning. Be in Riggins Thursday afternoon.
Greased the bearings, am carrying extra bearings and an extra hub.
--- (driving) ---
In Riggins �Thursday evening.

We are in Riggins and the river is up. All I can see is the riffle at the Little Salmon, looks smoother but bigger, but what it looks like from my room balcony doesn't count. Sam Heath says it's bumpy as hell, he's run it a few times today. I'll get better look at it and the rest of the river tomorrow.
The Salmon is at 12300 CFS right now, predicted for 17200 CFS Sunday, very roughly double what it was last year.

In Riggins � Friday Morning

The river was big this morning, double what it was last year- about 6500 last year, 13000~ this morning, 15800 this evening. Predicted to go to 25000 CFS tomorrow afternoon. It's rough now, likely much rougher tomorrow.

Pre-ran it again with Dave & Darren Provost, saw some good lines but likely out the window tomorrow. We'll see. I am not putting the GPS in the boat this race, it would not give me any useful information and I don't want to wreck it. Double checked everything, strapped everything down good, gonna be a wild ride.

182 Dave and Darren Provost - Risky Business II
277 Paul Bagshaw and Rob Soule - Unpredictable
309 Ryan Ringer and Grant Kulac - Bohhicca

177 Seth Bogner & Travis Barker - Exhibitionist
188 Steve Hanlin and Steve Davis - White Lightning
163 Duane Labrum and Gary Labrum - Tuff-N-Nuff
169 Dwain Longfellow and Brodie Miller - Liquifire

69 Sam Heath and Ashley Heath - Addiction
70 Dean Saxon and John Nicklason - Adrenaline Rush

140 Dale Whiteside and Ralph Rogers - Outlaws
09 Don Ruddick and Pete Nesbitt - Mountain Honey
15 Ron Pabst and Ed Drew - Footloose
18 Jared Johnson and Morgan Lohman - For Sale
13 Merv George and Zeke Leninger - Yellowhammer
07 Greg Boice and Brett Kemp - Hasta La Vista Baby
16 Jesse LaForest and Lynn Mouser - Cavefish Squared

08 Gary Weaver and Mike Messick - Baby Bud
24 Richard Grant and Elaine Grant - Thunderstruck
22 Mark Dorner and James Laughlin - No Deposit No Return

19 boats to race Riggins!

Tech was done at Salmon Rapids Inn by Buzz Hardy. Buzz also presents the Show & Shine trophies he purchases for the event. #169 Liquifire got best paint, #277 "Unpredictable" Best overall (team & boat), #188 "White Lightning" got best engineered. Buzz is a local drag racer and he has been helping the jetboat guys keep on running, when they blow into town to race, for something like 25 years.

Saturday morning.
It's big, it's bumpy, it's ugly. No doubt. But that's whay we've all built these specialized boats to do, eh?
I am fully prepared to get knocked around a bit today, my navigator also. As always over here, it's all about taking home a loaded trailer...

Saturday, after 3rd leg
Well, big and nasty is what we all got today. A cold front moved in over night, steady drizzle. The river has gone up to somewhere around 16000 cfs. Tight Squeeze is getting better all the time, smoother, the rollers below it are getting larger too though! The motel riffle is not much different, bigger, yes, but not any more rough that I could see. Time Zone is getting a little less forgiving but a new line around the east side has become runnable.

The river was what everyone expected. What no one expected was 50-mph gusts blowing right up the river from Time Zone clear to the motel riffle. They didn't arrive until the second down leg.
The first run down was ok, Ryan Ringer done at the bottom with motor problems, I think (correction later). I spun out at the bottom of Time Zone, just as I had gotten over the last roller. Filled the boat but four bilge pumps cranking emptied it out pretty quickly. This was a fun run, Greg Boice was having trouble getting on top at the start, we started and passed him, when I spun out at Time Zone he passed us, then he had gotten off step at Tight Squeeze and couldn't get going and I passed him again. He came flying in right behind me. Sounds goofy, but it was "fun".

The Labrums boat shut itself off at the Little Salmon, then it gracefully turned left and parked gently on the beach. If you ran the video I saw with the sound off it looked like they just drove it over and parked. That is if you didn't notice Gary repeatedly stabbing the starter button and Duane still trying to steer the other way. They said that something, they are not sure what, hit the switch and shut down the motor as they jumped into the pool at the Little Salmon.

The runs back up where uneventful except for the FX18 �For Sale� boat shutting off also and parking the rookie crew just below Race Creek. (correction, hit a rock!)
Lots of hops and flying about, typical Salmon River stuff.

The next leg down started at 1:30 pm and this leg had a completely different character. The rain had started falling in a serious manner, and it had gotten colder. The rain hurt hitting my face around my goggles, I was driving the fast run to the Little Salmon with my hand over my nose. Rain hurts at those speeds. As we started the curve to the north into the pool above the Little Salmon, a gust lifted us and set us down to our left. I slowed way down right away. I was feeling more gusts as we lined up and slowed some more. We hopped into the Little Salmon pool, another gust, I slowed to what I figured was minimum speed, about 35 mph, I needed to hop through the rollers and still hang on to it. The first hop was ok, the next one I jumped a BIG gust hit us and the nose shot way high. I was looking up at the sky, but I have skied boats before, the pump drags and you flop back down. That did happen, but it sure seemed like it took a long time. It felt like practically straight up too. We slapped in, I was shook and so was Lynn, but we kept on. The gusts were hitting us steady now, Merv was down below us not too far and he was having trouble getting back on top without being blown all over the place. The boat was blowing out, and moving sideways and we were only going about 40 mph. I slowed some more. Kept trying to egg it back up, but the gusts kept blowing me out. Over the rock garden north of town the gusts let up a little because there is a bend there and a hill that shields it. Over the Glass Wave and then turn (right) north again into the gusts. Again we are blowing all over the place. Merv was running real slow in front of us too. Dead slow, slow as I could safely go, all the way to Time Zone.
I like this view. Looks like it's shooting through a waterfall.


Down the left side, turn into Time Zone, one hop then another and another big gust shot us up, then dropped us into a hole. The boat full of water again, nose up, water flying off the flexplate. Trying to get it to tip over, no way. Water everywhere. Putt-Putting around and around in circles under the bridge, then out in the pool, going around slow letting the pumps empty the boat. After about four or five circles the boat was pretty much empty of water. Lynn was pointing at the little beach the whole time saying "go to the beach, go to the beach"! Don Ruddick blew past, but I saw later that he almost got it too just above us.

I told her that the boat was empty, we could make it. "Go to the beach" she says. I said "You sure, we can make it all the way down now that it's empty?" Lynn said "If we can make it then, let's go."

We ran on in but I was shook. The gusts were still blowing me all over, Damn near blew into the rocks as we took the checkered flag.

They called the rest of the race today, everyone with just a few exceptions darn near ate it because of the wind. We'll be ready to run tomorrow, see what the weather brings. Lynn elected to sit tomorrow out, Chris Sackett is going to ride with me. I am not sure I would ride with me, but there it is.

I'll start with a correction, Ryan Ringer #309 "Bohhicca" was out due to a cracked suction piece on the first down leg on Saturday. I may still have that wrong. In the one leg he did complete, Ryan set the single fastest leg time of the entire race, something like 5:16 for the 8 mile course. That's amazingly fast- holy mackerel Andy!

I also would like to expand on all the blow outs on the second down leg. The wind was gusting by my estimate to about 50 mph straight against the direction of travel and anybody that took a hop, with the exception of the non-tunnel boats, got plucked right out of the river. Chris Sackett got video of all of it, and it is interesting to watch how it affected each boat. The step-techs, both the SBFX and SJ boats, appeared to be able to handle the gusts safely. The faster tunnels, A and B class while also being blown out and crazy, seemed to be slightly less affected than the slower tunnels in BBFX and SBFX. I think this directly relates to the slower tunnels being set up more on the edge, or another way to look at it is that the gusts combined with the speeds we were trying to maintain was closer to our blow out speed than the faster boats. Again, the step-tech hulls looked almost unaffected. (Unless they got off step and then tried to get going again into the wind, their noses were just held up by the wind and they couldn't get tipped over.) That's what I'm thinking, but don't take it as gospel, its just guesswork on my part from looking at a video.

As far as getting blown out, I don't think how much wedge you were running made any difference, I doubt anybody was going over 50 mph at that point and I know I was down to about 35. It DID make a difference when trying to get back on step into it.

I would welcome anybody�s thoughts or comments on this, I'm sure everyone is pretty curious about the whole thing and thought I would open the subject with my thoughts.

From Merv George #13 �Yellowhammer�

After running the Salmon River last year, I had a very good sense for what I was in for this year. I just didn't expect the river to be 3 times bigger and to have gale force winds to accompany the already impressive Salmon River. Leg 3 on Saturday was probably the most frustrating/terrifying boat run I have ever ran. I knew it was going to be bad when I approached Shorts Bar. I was running 3 degrees negative on my wedge (I usually race with no wedge or 1 up) and the boat was flying and not turning. This is not a tunnel by the way. It is a lightweight step tech. These usually turn like a corvette. I came around the corner at the motel and the rollers looked like hot lava. The wind was blowing the white caps and it looked like the water was boiling. The river looked absolutely angry! I also seen the Longfellow boys on the left bank and I knew to slow the yellow machine down! I figured Dwain hit it hot and got blown around. Nonetheless I figured I would slow down and not race this leg but to survive it. I hopped through the first rapid at about 20 miles and hour and could not keep the boat in the water after every hop. Eventually I got knocked off step and fought for about 2 minutes trying to get back on top. I finally found a rock to hit the nozzle to push the nose down to get back on step. With 3 degrees negative wedge my boat usually will flop over like a drunk sailor when taking off. Not against 50 mph winds though! While going through this ruckas I was able to see Jesse coming up hard on my left side. I finally got going about the time when he was a couple hundred yards behind. As he approached a big wind gust came and launched his boat like a jet. Jesse if your boat had a little bigger wings I think you could have flown to the bottom without using any water to get there. It was scary to watch his beautiful new boat come out of the water like that. This episode happed right after the horrific photo that is posted on the Frank's photos deal. So this was the second launch for Jesse on the same leg. I dont think I went over 30 mph this entire section of the river to the bottom. I was trying to drive straight but my boat would drift 10 feet in both directions from center. This makes driving through rock gardens scary! Then there was Time Zone..... The rollers in Time Zone were covered with hot lava as well. The wind steam covered all gaps to make the water look flat. Good thing for my landmarks that I use to line up for big water. I lined up for the shale rock I had been using all weekend long and just genty pushed the throttle after feeling the first big roller. These rollers were very big! I guess 5 to 6 feet in overall height. Got to the bottom and felt like I had just climbed Mount Everrest. The weather by now was raining hard, it was cold, and the wind was the final kicker. I felt like we were deep sea fishing in the movie the "Perfect Storm". Not race weather by any means. I tip my hat to everyone who endured this leg of the race. From the cockpit of the little yellow beercan, it was a real test of one's nerve......I look forward to warmer weather, smaller rollers, and faster speeds.

I absolutely second that warmer weather, faster speeds and smaller rollers!

From Gary Labrum (South Idaho Gary)

Day 1 Leg 3. From the navigator's seat of the #163....

Coming into Shorts Bar the boat was really moving and getting light. The Longfellow's camp on the corner had 4 flags and a windsock flying. All the flags and the windsock were at maximum standout. Not even hardly moving the wind was blowing so hard. Just standing straight out. Just past Shorts Bar you have to make a hard right hand turn that starts the 180º corner into Mill Wave which proceeds into the Confluence and Salmon Rapids. The wind was blowing up the river. Right at the launch ramp at Shorts Bar the river was protected by the hogsback that the river makes the 180 around but could see from the Longfellow flags that there was some severe wind just around the corner. I started hollerin' at Duane. "Wind! Wind! Wind!---Drop the boat, Drop the boat". He let off, but the boat just kept "flying". Right turn input-nothing happening-we are still heading at the left bank-boat still carrying. Give it some gas and hope it starts turning. Thrust kicks in and boat comes around. Set up for the Confluence. Bad roller in the tongue. Nose lifts for the roller, but instead of dropping off the roller into the chop, the nose suddenly really pitches up. The wind's got us. Gust lifts the boat clear of the water. Feels like we are just floating and fluttering. 3-4 seconds hanging, looking at the sky. Silence. No breathing. Fortunately our approach was straight and we are still pointed in the right direction as the boat finally settles, lightly into the water. No sense of impact with the water. It just kind of set us down. (Had launched off a roller in the same place on the first leg and when we impacted we hit hard enough that something, maybe just the impact, knocked the ignition switch to the "OFF" position. We then hooked left and parked it on the gravel bar for about 7 minutes......that 7 minute struggle to get the boat off the gravel and back into the water ended up costing us the overall Sad ) As we tried to continue on through Salmon Rapids and through Town Hole and on, every time we started to get the boat to lift, the wind gusts would pick the boat up and move us over. Continued on at "putt" speed into the driving rain. Tunnel hull at 40-60 just drives like a pig. Requires lots of exaggerated input to herd it where you want it to go. Gusts coming upriver were causing ripple lines on the smooth (smooth on the Salmon being a relative term Smile ) Wind was actually knocking the tops off the rapids in Time Zone. It was just a maelstrom of wind and water. Made it kind of hard to see where we were going. Not a great place to be running by Braille. Continued on with lots of breath holding 'til we took the checkered. Felt real lucky to still be upright and floating. That run was a 6:48.

From Gary Longfellow (North Idaho Gary)

Liqui-Fire #169 got best paint. I navigated Saturday, first leg ok not very fast 6:15. 2ND legs run a lot better until we got to town. My back felt hot turned around and we are on FIRE!!! Halon works great put it out fast and no mess, except for all the oil. 3RD leg: hard to describe this ordeal. We were running good, until short's bar, it felt like 100 plus, then it got quiet. All i can see is clouds, not a good feeling. The safety boat said we were a boat length out for what seemed like a long [2or3sec] time. Came on around the corner, hotel rapid got us couldn't get back on step. We got a birds eye view of Jesse trying to do a back flip. Hats off to the race committee for stopping this, it was a very smart thing to do.

Anyway, enough about the wind. I guess that leaves us with rain and lots of water at the Salmon this year.

Sunday Morning

Sunday morning the USGS site was saying 18000 cfs at White Bird and by the end of the day it was at 20000.
The riffle below the Little Salmon seemed just a bit smoother to me, the rollers less defined.

We started 12? boats but ended up with 7 still running by the last of four legs.

Paul Bagshaw, #277 "Unpredictable" had his motor start losing rpm, missing and misfiring, about a mile from the start. They pulled over at the pits, the motor quit and they then slid into the flag boat off step. Paul says they tried to diagnose the problem, but couldn't find it. It would idle, then it wouldn't, tach spinning 360 degrees, all the time spluttering. On the trailer.

Dave Provost #182 "Risky Business II" made it a little further, water in the gas had him pulled over about 1/2 mile below the pits. They got back to the pits, drained the tanks and re-filled but the motor was off 1500 rpm and making funny noises. On the trailer.

Steve Hanlin #188 "White Lightning" got through the Little Salmon riffle, through town and the rock garden then hit a rock around Race Creek. Steve got his bell rung pretty good on the rollbar and cracked his helmet. LOTS of water coming in the boat, lots of water pumping overboard too and drifting in the race line. A couple of safety boats flew the red flag and rushed to their aid.

Chris Sackett and I, #16 "Cavefish Squared" came around the corner over the Glass Wave, saw the red flag, saw Steve's boat and two safety boats and made a hard left to go back up around the corner to wave off the racers following us. Our motor started gagging and sputtering, would barely pull us upriver against the current. We parked it on the gravel bar on the outside of the corner, jumped out and started trying to wave off the two next following boats, Don Ruddick #09 "Mountain Honey" and Ron Pabst #15 "Footloose".

All that happened this weekend notwithstanding, we (as in me and Lynn) will be back, we have yet to put in a good race at Riggins.

Some of the stellar things that did go good this weekend:

Ryan Ringer's amazing one leg time.

The King Cobra himself, Dave Provost deciding he was gonna have a successful weekend, period, and making it happen.

Dale Whiteside's amazing display of courage, skill and determination taking an SBFX to the Idaho cup win.

The quick appropriate response of the race director calling the race Saturday.

There were many other interesting things I saw over the weekend, besides lots of sky. I will try and get it all in the story for this page and for Hotboat. The SJ drivers for sure, that was something else!

From Gary Labrum (South Idaho Gary)

A quick post with results------

Leg money paid $75.00 per leg plus the boat show counted as a leg. If you completed all the legs and were at the boat show you got a $600 payment! Plus the purse....!!!

Finish by class

A Class-
1) Provost Bros #182 (had a run <5:30)
2) Bagshaw and Soule #277 (also had run<5:30)
3) Ringer and Kulac #309 (record run was actually 5:16 and told me the suction broke all the way around just in front of the wear ring-he was running a Harding adjustable nozzle and the "A" motor from Leo Wright's 2003 Worlds in Mexico)

B Class-
1) Labrum Bros #163 (ran all legs-best leg 5:53)
2) Longfellow and Miller #169
3) Hanlin and Davis #188
4) Bogner and Barker

1) Saxon and Niklason (second overall -by 31 seconds-ran all legs) #70
2) Sam and Ashley Heath #69

1)Dale Whiteside and Ralph (aka "Chief")from the Liquifire team (first OVERALL-ran all legs-IDAHO CUP winner) #140
2) Boice and Kemp (ran all legs) #07
3) George and Leninger (ran all legs) #13
(can't remember the rest of the order of finish-but there were some blistering runs by almost all the FXSB guys. Some had run the course in about 6:15 - Ruddick and Pabst come to mind. The Kwik Kraft hulls just crashed through on Sunday full blast )

Sport Jet
1)Richard and Elaine Grant (Canadian husband and wife team had clicked off some 7:07 runs-ran all legs-first time ever racing-Richard can REALLY drive that SJ) #24
2)Dorner and Laughlin (missed only one leg-this is the team form Michigan and Ontario , Canada-first race ever-Mark maybe could have been faster, but he was too busy smilin') #22
3) Weaver and Messick #08

Show and Shine awards-
Team Unpredictable-Best Overall-Gorgeous handmade trophy-Bald Eagle carved from a moose antler and mounted on a whitetail antler.

Missed who won the other two, maybe Rich can post that one....my apologies to Buzz Hardy for not being there and paying better attention. I think I was trying to hunt down a dessert.

Just got home to Klamath-
Thanks North & South Idaho Garys and Merv for finishing the story, I guess I am still a little fixated on the wind, blowing out, etc. etc.
I'll get over it.
Here is a link to Frank's Photos, lots of great ones, you can order pics from here too.

A postscript..
The SJ class amazed me.
The video I saw and some of the runs I saw at the motel all point to the same thing, those SJ guys drive like their throttles were stuck wide open and someone broke the key off in the ignition!  Spectacular air, crazy corrections, gutsy lines, they did it all. AND looked good doing it! A good show! (Looked like a hell of a lot of FUN!)

U.S. Points after Riggins

US Points


Day 1



Day 2


Riggins Total


Paul Bagshaw 277 800 275 0 275 1075  1st
Dave Provost 182A 400 366.66 0 366.66 766.66  2nd
Ryan Ringer 309A 0 133.33 0 133.33 133.33 3rd
Steve Hanlin 188 604.17 366.66 0 366.66 970.83 2nd
Duane Labrum 163 537.51 308.33 400 708.33 1245.84 1st
Gary Padgett 114 167.67 0 0 0 167.67 5th
Seth Bogner 177 255.35 0 0 0 255.35  4th
Jerome Rector 187 84.68 0 0 0 84.68  6th
Miller/Longfellow 169 0 100 300 400 400 3rd
Dean Saxon 70 611.53 366.66 400 766.66 1378.19 1st
Scott Adams 155 37.50 0 0 0 37.50  4th
Ryan Ringer 309 516.67 0 0 0 516.67  3rd
Sam Heath 69 600.01 333.33 0 333.33 933.34 2nd
Merv George 13 700.02 184.66 169 353.66 1053.68 2nd
Jesse LaForest 16 0 225 0 225 225 7th
Greg Boice 07 537.52 242.33 287.50 529.83 1067.35 1st
Don Ruddick 09 0 144.32 263.50 407.82 407.82 6th
Mike Egberg 19 140.67 0 0 0 140.67  8th
Ron Papst 15 169 187.99 176 366.99 532.99 4th
Scott Marshall 27 500 0 0 0 500 5th
Dale Whiteside 140 0 400  325 725  725 3rd


And the leg times & points, courtesy Gary Labrum


Total Time Total Points
Bagshaw A 277 5:23 5:54 5:48 17:05 275 DNF DNS DNS DNS 275
Provost A 182 5:18 5:41 5:26 16:25 366.66 DNF DNF DNS DNS 366.66
Ringer A 309 5:16 DNS 133.33 133.33
Labrum B 163 12:46 6:24 6:45 25:55 308.33 5:53 6:36 5:53 6:25 400 50:42 708.33
Hanlin B 188 5:45 6:18 6:48 18:51 366.66 DNF /9:50 DNS /11:20 DNS /11:00 DNS /11:20 62:21 366.66
Long-fellow B 169 6:15 DNF /8:51 DNF /9:30 24:36 100.00 7:29 7:23 7:29 7:29 300 54:26 400
Bogner B 177 DNF  DNS
Saxon BBFX 70 6:12 6:25 6:46 19:23 366.66 7:00 7:17 7:00 7:19 400 47:59 766.66
Heath 69 18:37 7:23 6:39 32:39 333.33 DNS DNS 333.33
White-side SBFX 140 6:36 7:00 6:32 20:08 400.00 6:25 7:12 6:25 7:00 325 47:10 725
George 13 6:44 7:43 9:19 23:46 184.66 6:48 7:43 6:48 7:35 169 52:50 353.66
Boice 07 8:38 7:08 6:58 22:44 242.33 6:42 7:11 6:42 7:08 287.5 50:27 529.83
LaForest 16 7:05 7:20 8:41 23:06 225.00 DNF DNS 225
Ruddick 09 11:31 7:29 8:58 27:58 144.32 6:13 6:53 6:13 6:58 263.5 54:15 407.82
Papst 15 7:51 7:08 11:09 26:08 187.99 6:52 7:37 6:52 7:32 176 55:01 363.99
Johnson 18 11:32 DNF DNS
Grant SJ 24 7:03 8:07 7:21 22:31 7:02 7:41 6:44 7:42 51:40
Dorner SJ 22 7:32 DNS /12:28 7:49 27:49 7:31 8:13 7:13 8:06 58:52
Weaver SJ 08 8:21 8:54 8:33 25:48 DNF DNS