Boatnik wraps up with hydroplane race

, Written by Kassi Nelson, Posted: Mon, May 26 2014 at 6:16 PM, Updated: Mon, May 26 2014 at 8:18 PM

Grants Pass, Ore. -- Memorial Day means the biggest day of Boatnik. The four day festival wrapped up with a 48 mile hydroplane boat race.

Participants raced in memory of Tom Rice. Rice was a Josephine County sheriff who worked for Boatnik for many years and was killed in a helicopter crash 12 years ago.

19 participants raced boats reaching speeds of 80 miles per hour. Volunteers said it's the most intense day on the river.

"They're not strapped in so if they get hooked they might get tossed out of the boat," J.J. DeForest, River Committee Co-chair for Grants Pass Active, said.

Hundreds watched as racers sped through four legs of the race. Each leg was 12 miles long.

Volunteers said they will spend three days cleaning up the park and then it's right back to planning for next year.

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About the Author

Kassi Nelson

NBC5 News reporter Kassi Nelson was born and raised in Nebraska. She graduated from the journalism school at University of Nebraska Lincoln where she studied broadcasting.

She also studied philosophy in the Czech Republic. Kassi has visited nine other countries including Sochi, Russia, where she reported on the preparations for the 2014 Olympic Games.

She loves skiing and live concerts!

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