Diamond Cup historian laments race’s uncertain future




Posted on July 3, 2014 at 9:06 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 3 at 9:20 AM

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho -- A local historian who wrote a book on the history of the Diamond Cup said he feels the same way he did back in the late 60's when the race was originally canceled.

MORE: Permit denied for Coeur d’Alene Diamond Cup races

Steve Sheppherd said he was sad the hydros would not return to Lake Coeur d’Alene after he got to see them last year after a 40-year hiatus.

WATCH: Diamond Cup wraps up after long-awaited return

Sheppherd was there in the 50's and 60's when the hydros were the kings of Lake Coeur d'Alene. He eventually wrote a book about those times.

"I was living the dream and didn't realize it at that particular time," said Sheppherd.

In the 1960s, the race was canned because of high costs. This week, plans for he 2014 hydroplane races were dealt a blow when the event was denied a water use permit. Though cancellation appears certain, Diamond Cup LLC race organizers have insisted on their Facebook page they were not giving up.

Sheppherd said the situation feels all too much like 1969.

"A piece of my life was just taken away, and I had no control over it. It's the same feeling I have right now. I have no control."

Sheppherd is now left remembering the glory days and awaiting a hopeful return of the race in 2015.

"It's just not the same place anymore,” he said. "It was my hobby. It was my passion. It was my interest. And that was suddenly taken away."

READ: Diamond Cup loses money, organizers looking for 2014 sponsors

The chairman of the league that oversees the hydroplane races said he is all for bringing the Diamond Cup back to North Idaho in 2015. He said the league hopes to start that process as soon as possible.