Paul Wearly

LOUDONVILLE -- In the 1940s the Pleasant Hill Boat Club hosted regular regattas, or boat races, at Pleasant Hill Lake.

The first races were held only three months after the lake was officially opened to boaters in 1940, and drew a crowd of over 4,000 spectators. There were 35 professional motor boat racers from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and West Virginia competing in three different classes.

By 1942, the regattas were expanded to include five races in two heats, each, of six laps around a one-mile course near the dam. Classes included 16 hp, 22 hp, 33 hp, inboard, and free-for-all. The previous admission price of 10 cents per spectator was dropped, as a way to provide free entertainment to the war-weary public.

In 1947, the regattas were nationally sanctioned and expanded to include seven races, including 14 ten-lap heats on the three-quarter mile course, as well as a new hydroplane class. The entrants included some of the top names in the country, such as National Pro Champion Paul Wearly of Indiana.

By 1948 the purse for the races totaled $1,000 and an estimated audience of 10,000 watched the races which included nearly 100 hydroplanes alone.

More information on the Cleo Redd Fisher Museum can be found at this link.

Support Our Journalism

Local news coverage is only sustainable with local support. Here at Ashland Source, our stories will always be free to read, but they aren’t free to produce. Consider supporting our coverage of Ashland County by becoming a member today.