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Thread: Dale Hoffert, Bradford, Illinois

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    Default Dale Hoffert, Bradford, Illinois

    "a little history" Part 59 Dale Hoffert, Bradfort, Illinois (57 August 20
    • The “a little history” series will resume August 5, 2021 as I shall be at DePue, Illinois for the Pro Outboard Nationals this coming week.


      Tonight’s history is on Dale Hoffert. Although Dale never raced his contribution to boat racing has be extremely large. Most racers know Dale from the races taking photos. His collection of race memorabilia is well known amongst the boat racing fraternity.


      Being born and raised in DePue Illinois I guess the love of boat racing is something you are born into. Perhaps it was the methanol and castor smell that permeated the womb or the magical sound of a full field of loopers coming to the start you heard from as far back as you can remember. Whatever it was, back then I got the bug and there is no going back now.
      I remember as an 8- or 9-year-old standing in the water in front of the pier in DePue and helping pull boats onto the scale when weight limits were still a part of outboard\Alky racing. Or the being able to attach yourself to a racer for the weekend and wash their boats. I was lucky enough to sit atop Howard Andersonstrailer for the last two years the Nationals were held at DePue before the lake got too shallow after the 1974 Nationals.
      It was a long 10 years before championship racing would return to DePue. Yes, the Midwest Powerboat Association had a couple spring races when the water was high enough before the summer sun would take its toll, but championship racing during that time, was over in DePue. After the lake was eventually dredged the DePue Democratic club sponsored the first USTS race back at DePue in 1983. Then the newly formed DePue Mens Club took over as sponsor in 1984. After the 1984 race the Mens Club was approached as to the possibility of becoming the host the 1985 PRO Nationals, and they accepted. Once again, racing was back at beautiful Lake DePue! The PRO Nationals have been the home of the races ever since.
      Though I have never raced myself, I came close to buying an A Runabout in the 80s, but I never pulled the trigger. Instead, I joined the DePue Mens Club and volunteered at the races every year in the patrol boats on the water. My wife and children also caught the boat racing bug, and have been right there with me every step of the way. I have to especially thank my wife Becki who puts up with the obsession.
      So, I guess that lead me to where I am today; a collector of racing history. That all started with a simple task, helping to organize my parents attic. While moving boxes around I came across a box of old DePue race programs that my mom had saved. I started out trying to collect all the old DePue programs I could find and with the help of many people I acquired the last two I needed, a 1992 and a 1970. Oddly enough the 1992 was found back in my parents attic and 1970 was sent to me by old time racer, Jerry Petersen. Many people helped with this task, namely Paul Bosnich. The internet also played a vital role and that is where I found out about Hydroracer.net and Ron Hills Boatracingfacts.com. I posted messages on both cites and the response was overwhelming. The next step in my collecting came from one of the programs I received. Inside, tucked between a couple papers, were the typewritten results by Charlotte Queen from the 1969 Outboard nationals. So back to the internet websites I went looking for more information. The first three people to respond to my request were Bruce Summers, John Schubert and Wayne Baldwin. They all sent memorabilia from the 60s and 70s and continue to do so today and I am proud to call them friends. Had they not responded so quickly who knows what may happened. One of the things they sent were pages from various editions of the APBA magazine Propeller; thus, starting my next obsession; collecting all the Propeller magazines I could get my hands on. Again, off to the internet and I think the earliest contributor to that was racer Mike Schmidt. I had struck up a friendship with Mike during my years working on the water in a tow\safety boat as a member of the DePue Mens Club. I enjoy that position and being able to talk to the many racers who serve as turn judges. Mike has not only contributed the Propeller magazines, but he has continued to add to my collection with his copies of the USTS newsletter Pro-Motion and also the Charles Lowery video tapes from the 1990s races.
      Perhaps one of the largest collections I have acquired came with the help of past racer and current USTS race announcer Ray Rodda. Ray lived out in California for years and had a friend in Dick Davidson. A few years ago, Dick had contacted Ray and told him he was wanting to thin out his boat racing paper goods. Ray contacted me and gave me the contact information. I got in touch with Dick and told him I would take whatever he wanted to get rid of. Little did I know how much there was, and a couple weeks later, four 50-pound boxes arrived at my door. Inside was more than I could have ever imagined. From racing magazines, west coast racing club newsletters, to rules books and more.
      Perhaps the next big came from the collection from Clyde and Charlotte Queen. While trying to collect items from the 60s and 70s, most people I talked to brought up their names. Almost to a person they would say that Charlotte was a pack rat and saved everything from back in those days. I really cant totally remember the sequence of events but I was first in contact with Nancy Rahnert who is Clydes stepdaughter. Then after getting Clydes number, I was able to talk with him for quite a while. We talked extensively about the early years at DePue and about the Outboard Club of Chicago that was the host club for many of those 60s and 70s Nationals. It was after Clydes passing that Nancy contacted me and brought me some of the collected items that the family did not want.
      Boat racing lost another good man when in 2018 Steve Litzell passed away. His wife Connie turned to Mike Thirlby to help sort out all that Steve had. I was fortunate to have Mike contact me and ask if Id be interested in the racing paper goods Steve had collected and saved. Another score for the history collection and much has been shared via BRF.
      Another person that has always helped with the filling in the blanks on the history of racing was Bill Van Steenwyk. I could talk to Bill, and he would always take the time to talk about the history of the great sport of boat racing. Upon his passing, his wife Eileen sent me a lot of what Bill had saved. I cannot thank her for enough for that. It is hard to see these guys leave us. We are fortunate to have their knowledge on the boat racing websites.
      I have had the pleasure of helping John Schubert with the last two racer reunions at DePue and took part in the 2012 reunion. As I stated earlier, I have never been a racer however being at those reunions and listening to the racing legend talk and tell stories makes the time we put in to organize them well worth it. It means a lot when a guy like Bill Seebold makes sure he comes over to thank us for putting the reunions on. In his words , we may talk a lot on the phone but I always enjoy coming to these and seeing guys that I raced against and reminisce about the early days of racing.
      In the beginning I was only interested in Outboard\Pro racing history but have since expanded with the addition on a collection from Dudley Malone. That collection came with stuff from the OBriens from Indiana.
      While I keep all of the original items in my collection, I do share most of it on the race website boatracingfacts.com, BRF. Ron Hill has a great website and is an invaluable source for all things boat racing. I hope he keeps it going for a long time.
      From magazines to programs to newsletters, I have collected it all. There have been many people along the way who have given me memorabilia to add to the collection. Race historian RC Hawie has contributed programs and race related items. Pete Voss has added copies of early 1900s magazines. Tim Chance has given me plastic tubs of just about everything race related. Paul Bosnich has always been there to point me in a direction if I have questions and he has given me plenty of other race related history. Roger Giovanni gave me all his copies of Propeller magazine. I am sure I have left somebody out and I apologize for that as there have been so many people who have helped me build my collection. I am so grateful to them all.
      So why do it. We all need a hobby and as I have told many people it is your history; I am just trying to preserve it for future generations. There have been people who have contacted me for one thing or another and I am always glad to help. I have learned a lot from doing the research and finding what they are looking for. I enjoy boat racing and the people who do it and have made many friends in the process. If I could ask one thing it is this this. Please dont throw anything away. I can not tell you how many people have said I wish I had kept this or saved that. There is always someone out there looking something race related.
      Just recently I had received a message from a gentleman on the east coast. He had seen a post I had put on one of the threads on BRF. I had posted a picture of a cover from a Stock National program that I had gotten from RC Hawie. The gentleman was a racer and had a friend he raced with. His friend was in the hospital after being diagnosed with cancer and was not doing to well. He said he had gone to that Nationals with his friend and asked if he could possibly have that program for him. I sent the program out to him and later messaged me after taking that program to the hospital. They sat there and talked about the pictures of guys in the program, the races they competed in, and even restaurants they ate at that were advertised in the program. He said it did him good to smile and laugh and reminisce about that race. I guess that is why I do it, because there is always someone looking for s His collection of race memorabilia is well known amongst the boat racing fraternity.





        • I remember as an 8- or 9-year-old standing in the water in front of the pier in DePue and helping pull boats onto the scale when weight limits were still a part of outboard\Alky racing. Or the being able to attach yourself to a racer for the weekend and wash their boats. I was lucky enough to sit atop Howard Andersonstrailer for the last two years the Nationals were held at DePue before the lake got too shallow after the 1974 Nationals.
          It was a long 10 years before championship racing would return to DePue. Yes, the Midwest Powerboat Association had a couple spring races when the water was high enough before the summer sun would take its toll, but championship racing during that time, was over in DePue. After the lake was eventually dredged the DePue Democratic club sponsored the first USTS race back at DePue in 1983. Then the newly formed DePue Mens Club took over as sponsor in 1984. After the 1984 race the Mens Club was approached as to the possibility of becoming the host the 1985 PRO Nationals, and they accepted. Once again, racing was back at beautiful Lake DePue! The PRO Nationals have been the home of the races ever since.
          Though I have never raced myself, I came close to buying an A Runabout in the 80s, but I never pulled the trigger. Instead, I joined the DePue Mens Club and volunteered at the races every year in the patrol boats on the water. My wife and children also caught the boat racing bug, and have been right there with me every step of the way. I have to especially thank my wife Becki who puts up with the obsession.
          So, I guess that lead me to where I am today; a collector of racing history. That all started with a simple task, helping to organize my parents attic. While moving boxes around I came across a box of old DePue race programs that my mom had saved. I started out trying to collect all the old DePue programs I could find and with the help of many people I acquired the last two I needed, a 1992 and a 1970. Oddly enough the 1992 was found back in my parents attic and 1970 was sent to me by old time racer, Jerry Petersen. Many people helped with this task, namely Paul Bosnich. The internet also played a vital role and that is where I found out about Hydroracer.net and Ron Hills Boatracingfacts.com. I posted messages on both cites and the response was overwhelming. The next step in my collecting came from one of the programs I received. Inside, tucked between a couple papers, were the typewritten results by Charlotte Queen from the 1969 Outboard nationals. So back to the internet websites I went looking for more information. The first three people to respond to my request were Bruce Summers, John Schubert and Wayne Baldwin. They all sent memorabilia from the 60s and 70s and continue to do so today and I am proud to call them friends. Had they not responded so quickly who knows what may happened. One of the things they sent were pages from various editions of the APBA magazine Propeller; thus, starting my next obsession; collecting all the Propeller magazines I could get my hands on. Again, off to the internet and I think the earliest contributor to that was racer Mike Schmidt. I had struck up a friendship with Mike during my years working on the water in a tow\safety boat as a member of the DePue Mens Club. I enjoy that position and being able to talk to the many racers who serve as turn judges. Mike has not only contributed the Propeller magazines, but he has continued to add to my collection with his copies of the USTS newsletter Pro-Motion and also the Charles Lowery video tapes from the 1990s races.
          Perhaps one of the largest collections I have acquired came with the help of past racer and current USTS race announcer Ray Rodda. Ray lived out in California s the next big came from the collection from Clyde and Charlotte Queen. While trying to collect items from the 60s and 70s, most people I talked to brought up their names. Almost to a person they would say that Charlotte was a pack rat and saved everything from back in those days. I really cant totally remember the sequence of events but
          Boat racing lost another good man when in 2018 Steve Litzell passed away. His wife Connie turned to Mike Thirlby to help sort out all that Steve had. I was fortunate to have Mike contact me and ask if Id be interested in the racing paper goods Steve had collected and saved. Another score for the history collection and much has been shared via BRF.
          Another person that has always helped with the filling in the blanks on the history of racing was Bill Van Steenwyk. I could talk to Bill, and he would always take the time to talk about the history of the great sport of boat racing. Upon his passing, his wife Eileen sent me a lot of what Bill had saved. I cannot thank her for enough for that. It is hard to see these guys leave us. We are fortunate to have their knowledge on the boat racing websites.
          I have had the pleasure of helping John Schubert with the last two racer reunions at DePue and took part in the 2012 reunion. As I stated earlier, I have never been a racer
          From magazines to programs to newsletters, I have collected it all. There have been many people along the way who have given me memorabilia to add to the collection. Race historian RC Hawie has contributed programs and race related items. Pete Voss has added copies of early 1900s magazines. Tim Chance has given me plastic tubs of just about everything race related. Paul Bosnich has always been there to point me in a direction if I have questions and he has given me plenty of other race related history. Roger Giovanni gave me all his copies of Propeller magazine. I am sure I have left somebody out and I apologize for that as there have been so many people who have helped me build m that. There is always someone out there looking something race related.
          Just recently I had received a message from a gentleman on the east coast. He had seen a post I had put on one of the threads on BRF. I had posted a picture of a cover from a Stock National program that I had gotten from RC Hawie. The gentleman was a racer and had a friend he raced with. His friend was in the hospital after being diagnosed with cancer and was not doing to well. He said he had gone to that Nationals with his friend and asked if he could possibly have that program for him. I sent the program out to him and later messaged me after taking that program to the hospital. They sat there and talked about the pictures of guys in the program, the races they competed in, and even restaurants they ate at that were advertised in the program. He said it did him good to smile and laugh and reminisce about that race. I guess that is why I do it, because there is always someone looking for something.


























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    Last edited by Ron Hill; 08-31-2021 at 05:57 PM.

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