Amputees putting pedal to the water
10:38 am August 22nd, 2014
Amputee military veterans will be skimming across the water in hydroplanes during a race this weekend near Eatonville.
WOW-Warriors on the Water, a new program for veterans with lower-leg mobility issues, will be introduced at Silver Lake during the Smilin’ George Silver Lake Regatta Outboard Races on Aug. 22, 23 and 24.
Jeff Heckman (left), a doctor at the VA Hospital in Seattle, helped start a hydroplane racing program for veterans such as Wayne Briggs (middle) and Kelly Bailey, who are amputees. (Gleason Racing Photography/courtesy photo)
head with everyone else.”
The Smiling George races at Silver Lake are named for George Henley, the late unlimited hydro champion from Eatonville. The event, hosted by Seattle Outboard Association, will feature five classes of boats – pro outboard, stock outboard, K Pro H, J and modified outboard. They’ll compete on a one-mile course. Racing will begin in the mornings.
Henley, who died in 2009 at the age of 72, won the Gold Cup in 1974 in one of his more noteworthy victories on the unlimited circuit. He owned a resort on Silver Lake.