Alabama is known for fast cars and famous race tracks. What about fast boats and famous water? Lake Guntersville invites you to an extreme summer event where you can watch the fastest boats today, race four and five wide on an oval course at speeds of 200 mph. Two days of competitive racing as drivers volley to take home the Southern Cup. This tradition dates back to the 1940s and is definitely one for your bucket list.
Want to help out? We need volunteers for the event. If you or your organization is interested in volunteering email us at email@example.com
Mark your calendars for 2023’s event on June 24 & 25!
The 2023 Guntersville Lake HydroFest will be one you don’t want to miss! We will have several classes of boats competing this year including H1 Unlimiteds, Grand Prix Americas and Pro Lites 5 Litres. The Miss U.S. U-36 will even be making an appearance on Lake Guntersville. Follow Guntersville Lake HydroFest on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see more information on this year’s race!
*Active Duty Military with valid military ID get in free
*Active Duty Military with valid military ID get in free
AT THE GATE $40
The Ultimate Weekend Pass includes admission into the event, free transportation to see the boats at any time throughout the two days of racing, and a commemorative program.
Enjoy the party atmosphere at the Rooster Tail Party area in Zone 3. You will have the best views of the race and enjoy a lounge area that will have lunch both days and nonalcoholic beverages. There will be a cash bar available for alcohol purchase. Free transportation to see the boats throughout the two days of racing is also included! To see the boats, you must wear close-toed shoes.
Club Level includes access into a large, private tented area for on-the-water viewing at the start/finish line and free lunch and nonalcoholic beverages. Free transportation to see the boats at any time throughout the two days of racing is also included!
For the perfect tailgate experience, reserve your personal tent space for HydroFest 2023. We will continue to have Premium Tent Spaces for $75. These spaces are on the water for great views of the races in Zone 1. Regular tent spaces in Zone 1 and Zone 2 are also available for $60. Zone 3 tent spaces are $50. Each space will be 15X15 ft. Pop up tents only. No overnight camping within the venue.
The waterway now recognized as Lake Guntersville was mostly forest and farm lands. When the federal government approved the building of Guntersville Dam on the Tennessee River, 1,182 families had to relocate because their homes and farms were sitting in the middle of land slated to be flooded.
At the completion of the 5-year project, 110,145 acres of land had been cleared, 14 cemeteries and 90 miles of road had been relocated, and TVA had created a 69,000 acre lake with 900 miles of shoreline, stretching 75 miles from Southern Tennessee to Guntersville, AL.
Guntersville Dam, the largest project to date in Marshall County history at a cost of $51 million was completed. To date, the dam generates 140,400 kilowatts of electricity and stands 94 feet high and 3,979 feet wide.
To celebrate the completion of the project, city officials in Guntersville hosted a boat race that brought more than 50,000 spectators.
Guntersville Boat Racing Association was formed with D.M. Barnett, R.A. Conrad, Roy Drinkard, J.P. Willis and C.W Woodall at the helm. This was also the first year that the Miss Guntersville Lake Beauty Pageant was held in conjunction with the boat race. The pageant drew 51 contestants and Ida Will Willis of Guntersville was crowned Miss Guntersville Lake.
Lake Guntersville hosted the National Inboard Championships, solidifying the destination as one of the best boat racing venues in the country. The past few years had seen as many as 60 competitive boats from 8 states in attendance at the summer’s popular boat race. Guntersville would be the host for the National Championships again in 1957 and 1962.
Lake Guntersville hosts the Unlimited class of boats for the very first time. These boats used engines from WW2 airplanes and were the fastest boats in the world at the time. That June, teams competed in Guntersville for the “Alabama Governors Cup” and the winner was Ron Musson, driving the Miss Bardahl U-40.
The first year for the Dixie Cup Regatta, boasting an estimated crowd of 40,000 watching from the shoreline. The winner of the race was Bill Muncey who drove the U-7 Notre Dame boat. Muncey was nicknamed “Mr. Unlimited” and he won 62 races during his career, the most victories in the sport. That record held until 2011. He raced from 1949 to 1981. He died in a blowover crash traveling 175 miles per hour in Mexico.
In June, Lee Taylor driving the “Hustler” broke the world water speed record on Lake Guntersville, averaging 285.21 with one lap run being 299.18 MPH. Just one month later during the annual regatta, tragedy would strike the fastest water in the south, with one racer killed and another seriously injured.
Coverage of the Dixie Cup Regatta made the sports section of the New York Times. The regatta was the first race for the famed Unlimiteds who would take 10 competitive boats to 8 races across the country. The Miss Budweiser boat, driven by Bill Sterett from Owensboro, Kentucky, won the Dixie Cup Regatta with an average race speed of 102 MPH. This would be the last year the Unlimiteds would race in Alabama until 2018.
The last year for the regatta
Boat racing returns to Lake Guntersville with Unlimited hydroplane and Grand Prix classes racing for the Southern Cup. Under the new name Guntersville Lake HydroFest, the event that began in 1939 is reborn and more than 10,000 line the banks to watch as the Unlimiteds, fired by 3,000-horsepower engines, top speeds of 200 MPH.
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