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It's time to 'Quake the Lake': Boat show, powerboat races set for next weekend

And they're off! The boats that entered last year's Quake the Lake Powerboat Races kicked up quite a wake behind them as they took off from the shore. The 2017 races will be held this Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 12-13, on Little Detroit Lake, with hot laps at noon and heat races starting at 1 p.m. on both days. (Vicki Gerdes/Tribune)1 / 2
Last year's Antique & Classic Boat Show, which was held at the Detroit Lakes Holiday Inn, brought between 20-30 participants and drew a steady crowd of visitors. This year's boat show has been moved to the shaded comfort of the City Park, and will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday. (Vicki Gerdes/Tribune) 2 / 2

Detroit Lakes' City Park and mile-long City Beach will be transformed into a boaters' paradise this coming weekend, Aug. 12-13, with a boat show in the park on Saturday and powerboat racing on Little Detroit Lake both Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

The 3rd Annual Detroit Lakes Antique and Classic Boat Show is scheduled for Saturday in the City Park, from noon to 4 p.m.

The location was changed from the Holiday Inn parking lot this year because organizers wanted to make use of the shaded comfort of the city park — and because the races themselves have also been moved from Big to Little Detroit Lake, says event coordinator Cleone Stewart of the Detroit Lakes Regional Chamber of Commerce.

"The racers prefer Little Detroit because it's less windy," Stewart said, which means the ride is a little smoother. Speaking of which, the Jerry Simison Memorial Quake the Lake Powerboat Races also get underway at noon on Saturday, continuing through Sunday, Aug. 13.

In past years, the event has been held the second weekend in June, said Stewart, but the Twin City Powerboat Association, which runs the event, had another racing event scheduled for that weekend, so it was moved to August in order to accommodate the scheduling needs of organizers for both the races and the boat show.

Six different categories of boats — including the Formula 150s, which reach speeds in excess of 130 miles per hour — will be raced on the waters of Little Detroit, with both days to include hot laps at noon and race heats starting at 1 p.m.

For the 200 series class, this weekend's race is the North American Championship qualifier with triple points, so drivers will be jockeying for points as it's the last race before the nationals. Only the top finishers in each category on Saturday will advance to Sunday's finals, Stewart noted.

The public is also invited to come meet the racers and get an up-close look at their boats in the Kent Freeman Sports Arena parking lot on Saturday and Sunday morning, as well as after the races on Saturday.

Spectators can watch all the racing action from the city beach, and there is no admission fee.

"Bring along a lawn chair or a blanket and sit right down on the beach," said Stewart. Though this will be the 11th annual "Quake the Lake" event hosted by the TCPA, the races were renamed last year to honor the late Karl "Jerry" Simison, a legendary powerboat racer who lived in the Detroit Lakes area for many years. His son Todd Simison, owner and proprietor of TS Dock & Lift in Detroit Lakes, says that Jerry raced multiple times on the waters of both Big Detroit and Pelican Lake, where they spent their summers during the majority of Jerry's 20-year racing career. In between Saturday's qualifying heats, spectators can head on down the beach to the adjacent City Park, where vintage boats from 1992 and earlier — some even dating back to the early 1900s — will be on display.

Like the races, the Antique & Classic Boat Show is free and open to the public, says Stewart.

"We'll have both antique (vintage 1942 and older) and classic boats (built between 1943-1992) on display," she said.

Boat owners may register their boats free of charge. In accordance with the Antique and Classic Boat Society's rules, boats may be in original or restored condition and may be runabouts, utilities and row boats constructed of wood, aluminum or fiberglass. Though there is no cost to register for the boat show, participants are encouraged to sign up by this Wednesday, Aug. 9 so that organizers can ensure there will be enough space to encompass all the entries, Stewart noted.

To register, please call Stewart at 218-847-9202 or email her at At the inaugural antique and classic boat show, boats were shown representing three Detroit Lakes area boat builders from the 1900s including an Ole Lind, 1948 Lund runabout and Noeske cedar strip bow boat. Other boats shown have included several Chris Craft, Garwood, Larson and Falls Flyer models.

Some of the boats registered for this year's show include a 1947 Century SeaMaid, 1948 Chris Craft, 1989 Hydrostream HST, 1963 Glasspar SeaFair Sedan, 1962 Dorsett Catalina, and 1954 Ole Lind. "We try to get a good cross section of boat types," says Stewart, adding, "The public and boaters alike are invited to vote for their favorite boat in each division."

The awards for People's Choice and Skipper's Choice (voted on by boat show participants only) will be given out at the conclusion of the show on Saturday, Stewart added.

For updates on the races and registration information for the boat show, see the web page at (click on "Events," then scroll down to "Boat Races and Show"), or call the Chamber at 218-847-9202.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 17 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454