People come to the Tri-City hydroplane races for a number of reasons -- to witness a high-speed wreck, spend the day by the water with friends, party in the beer garden or gawk at bikini-clad women on the promenade.
Many, of course, simply come to watch the sport and cheer on their favorite drivers.
And some have followed fast boats since the Eisenhower era.
The Water Follies on Saturday attracted large crowds to the Tri-Cities' river banks, including a higher percentage of young people than ever before, organizers said. But there among the young revelers sat two veteran fans of boat racing, their eyes trained on the sleek shapes whizzing by.
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Duane and Barbara Dahlum caught the boat race bug long before they met in 1965. Both followed the boats and drivers separately since the 1950s and together have traveled to races across the western U.S. for more than four decades.
"And this is the best view (of a course) outside of San Diego," Duane said, as the Columbia lapped at his feet Saturday.
The Dahlums, from Silverton, Ore., first came to the Tri-Cities' races in 1983. Within a few years, Duane guided tours through the pits, explaining the technology and history of the boats to spectators.
He did that until 1997, he said. Duane Dahlum is 70 years old, his wife a year younger.
And it's clear that both are equally enthusiastic about the boats. When a detail about the Gold Cup -- a race of long-standing tradition in Detroit -- momentarily escapes Duane, Barbara quickly reminds him that the race he is talking about was in 1957.
The two are walking encyclopedias of boat racing -- and they have learned their facts directly from the sources. They count some hydroplane legends among their friends, they said.
"We first met Steve David when he was a rookie, sometime in the '80s," Barbara said.
David now has more career wins than anyone in the history of boat racing, according to his team website.
They met Greg Hopp, a second-generation hydroplane driver, even earlier in his career.
"He was pulling a wooden hydroplane (toy) in the pit in Seattle," Duane chuckled.
The relationships they have built is part of what brings them back to the races year after year.
"We've met some drivers and owners that are really wonderful people," Barbara said. "It's like a family."
Friendships aside, the pair is just plain crazy about racing.
They talked about the fins and hull shapes of the boats, taking turns explaining how different angles affect how a boat handles.
They leaned forward in anticipation when the countdown for a race sounded through the speaker system.
They simultaneously reached for their long-lens cameras when the boats came flying down the front stretch past where the couple was perched on the bank. They have about 4,000 photos of race boats at home, Barbara guessed.
They said they admired the perfection of movement and technology on display when a boat glides across water at breakneck speeds.
And that technical perfection can only be achieved when people work together in harmony, Duane said, which is where his hobby and his profession merge.
Duane is a "semi-retired" clinical social worker. For years he worked in private practice and in school districts at the same time. These days, he has throttled back to only see clients in private practice.
When he looks at a boat speeding along a straight line on rippled water, he knows the crew members who prepared that boat talked to each other and cooperated as a team.
He sees the psychological make-up of a team behind its boat's performance.
"When they work perfectly together and that boat just skips over the water -- that's what brings me back," Duane said.
Then his head snaps around. The unlimited hydroplanes are out on the river.
"Here's the big ones," Duane said, his voice rising with excitement.