October 2019 – We took our RV to the Colorado River area near the town of Parker in the northwestern part of Arizona and just happened to hit the river on the right day. The Arizona Drag Boat Association was holding a weekend of drag boat races!
We could hear the noise of the drag boat engines long before we saw them, and we quickly ran down to the water to catch the action.
There was a line of drag boats on trailers in the parking lot, and one by one they were being launched at the boat ramp. From there they were towed out to the starting line by people on jetskis.
The race was a “liquid” quarter mile, and they raced it in pairs with the winner of each race advancing to face another challenger in another race.
Each drag boat leaped into action and then flew past us. One guy got such a fast start that he was knocked right off his feet in his boat. Luckily he was okay and his safety tether stopped the boat engine so it didn’t fly off with no one in control.
The sound of the engines and the speed of these drag boats was astonishing. To capture the motion we played with slowing the shutter speeds on our cameras and panning the action so we could blur the background but keep the boats in focus.
It was an absolutely perfect day to hang out on the grass and watch these exotic drag boats fly by. Even though it was mid-October it felt like summertime!
Up in the air a helicopter flew around, hovering over the drag boats at the starting line.
As each boat leaped into action it popped a wheelie. What fun!
Some of the drag boats came clear out of the water!
On shore, some people were so inspired by all this racing action that they couldn’t help but fly off the ground in a full sprint too!
Above it all, the helicopter chased after each pair of racing drag boats to the finish line and then circled back to the start. When things got quiet between races it flew up and down the river close to the shore.
They were taking pics of us as we were taking pics of them!
Not all the water action was dragboat racing. This section of the Colorado River was closed to through traffic for the day, but periodically they had to pause the racing to let some boats cruising the river pass through.
Inside the marina a fellow played on practice wakeboard that was tied to a cable system spanning the calm water.
And in between heats of drag boat races a few jetskis took to the race course to see how fast they could go.
But drag boat racing was the game of the day, and the spray was flying. Many races were neck-and-neck to the finish.
Most drag boats had huge towering engines, but one yellow boat had an outboard. When he lost his race Mark caught an image of him behind a fantastic wall of spray left by the winner.
We were about to leave and started walking back to the parking lot when Mark noticed some truly exotic drag boats being backed down the boat ramp. These drag boats had covers that flipped down to protect the driver.
When the first boat got into the water and revved its engine we could feel the rumble in our chests. We asked one of the people helping roll the drag boats into the water what racing class this was and she said it was the top level group called “Pro-Outlaw.”
OMG. We couldn’t leave now!
The drag boats sat at the starting line and rumbled for a while. Then we saw two boats lower their hoods. And off they went!
These Pro-Outlaw boats were hitting over 190 mph. Holy smokes!!
The Colorado River and Lake Havasu area in northwestern Arizona always seems to have something going on, and we’ve enjoyed several stays there.
From an unexpected and really fun “timeshare tour” of an RV park timeshare program to balloons rising over Lake Havasu to a VW microbus rally to a close encounter with burros on the California side of the river, we’ve bumped into some fabulous thrills in this water-filled part of the Arizona desert!
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More info about drag boat racing and RV camping in the area:
- Arizona DragBoat Association
- 2019 Arizona Drag Boat Association Events
- RV Camping in the area
- Where is Parker Arizona?
Other races we’ve seen into in our travels:
- Soap Box Derby & Barrel Races – A Labor Day to Remember! 09/07/18
- Sun Valley Road Rally – Go Granny Go! 08/16/14
- Nevada Open Road Challenge – A NEED for SPEED! 05/30/14
- PV: 2013 Kiteboard World Cup – Here on the beach! 05/14/13
- Ensenada Races – For Bicycles and Sailboats 04/26/10
- Lake Huron MI – Hydroplane Races and the Joseph S. Fay Shipwreck 05/19/09
More from northwestern Arizona:
- Balloons and VW Buses in Lake Havasu AZ 01/17/15
- Havasu Springs Resort, AZ – Lucky Break! 11/03/09
- VW Microbus Mania in Lake Havasu Arizona! 02/01/15
- Waterfront Dining in Arizona – Scorpion Bay & River’s Edge Cantina 03/30/18
- Wild Burros of the Colorado River – A Puppy’s View! 03/16/18
Our most recent posts:
- Where to See WILDFLOWERS (especially POPPIES) in Arizona 2023! 03/21/23
- Toy Hauler Life – What’s It Like to Live in a Toy Hauler? 03/08/23
- Dead Horse Ranch State Park + Tuzigoot, Clarkdale & AZ Copper Museum! 02/17/23
- Catalina State Park & Roosevelt Lake – Winter RV Camping in AZ! 01/20/23
- Demco 21K Recon Fifth Wheel Hitch Review and Installation 12/23/22
More of our Latest Posts are in the MENU.
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You certainly have a knack for finding color wherever you go. Looks like it was one heck of an event. Buddy didn’t get to ride in one of the boats??? 😉
We have been so lucky over the years bumping into interesting events and festivals. This one was a blast, and even though Buddy didn’t get to ride in one of the boats, he had a lot of fun meeting other dogs and chasing critters in the bushes!
Only in America – in our wild and wooly west !!!!! Great action photography…and LOVED Buddy jump-starting himself !!!!!
We had a blast with the action photography, and catching Buddy mid-sprint with all four paws off the ground was a special bonus!
Thanks for all the beautiful boat pictures. They used to do that on the Illinois River and maybe they still do. Love it. Usually loud; too.
It was a hoot and fun to photograph, Margo, and it was super loud too. I’m glad you’ve seen similar races — must have been fun to watch on the Illinois River!!
Love the great action shots guys, looks like some noisy fun!
It was a blast, Bruce. Good, loud, silly fun!