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June 19, 2012 | 04:46 PMBLOOMFIELD — Kip Trumpulis, the organizer of the Badger State Outboard Association's power boat races, was asked Wednesday, June 13, how he was doing.
"Tired of weeds," he said.
But the moment some have been waiting for all month appears to be at hand. The next question to Trumpulis: Are the races still on?
"Definitely," he said.
But Trumpulis has said that before. Originally, the races were scheduled June 2 and 3. But on May 31, he announced the races were postponed until June 9 and 10 because of the lake weed overgrowth.
Then, the races were rescheduled to June 23 and 24. That way, Trumpulis and volunteers could have more time to remove the weeds and there would be enough village of Bloomfield emergency personnel on hand to work the two-day event.
Will the power boat races really happen this weekend? Over the phone Monday, Trumpulis said they will.
"I don't think we're going to cancel unless a hurricane comes through," he said.
Trumpulis seemed hopeful that no torrential rainfall would dampen his plans for the races to return — not just this year, but in 2013.
"Hopefully, next year, we won't have this weed problem and we won't have this DNR problem," he said.
But it may not be the power boat races people remember from a few years back.
Trumpulis said they usually have a mile-long, oval-shaped course on Pell Lake. This weekend, the course will be a half-mile oval, he said.
"That should actually make for better entertainment," Trumpulis said. "The boats don't get to go quite as fast and they don't separate from each other."
It means racers who enjoy traveling at 80 mph — like Trumpulis, a racer himself — will have to race at 55 mph.
The race delays this month may also affect how many racers participate this weekend.
Trumpulis said he expects "at least 50," but had the races been June 2 and 3, there were 76 racers registered.
What does this mean for this weekend's event?
"We probably had 50 people show up on (June 2 and 3), so based on that, we should have a good turnout," Trumpulis said. He added that in addition to police, fire and rescue personnel being available, two food vendors will work the event.
"There's no problems on any of those ends," Trumpulis said.
Except, of course, for the weeds.
Tackling this problem is something Trumpulis called "a learning experience." But it may cost race proponents. On Saturday, the State Department of Natural Resources issued the Pell Lake Mud Hens a citation for violating its weed removal permit (See related story below).
Although Trumpulis said he had hoped for more volunteers — "we could always use more," he said — but he was happy for those who came and helped. He said there will be a special thank-you during the races this weekend.
Trumpulis said that since Memorial Day, he has been working on removing weeds from Pell Lake every Thursday through Sunday, finding the time while working as a professional truck driver. He wasn't the only one working to ensure the races this weekend. According to Trumpulis, association members from Oshkosh, Neenah and DeKalb, Ill., will help clear the race course so it's ready in time.
Local race history
The association's first race on Pell Lake was in 2009, a first for the area. It held another one in 2010. In August 2011, the weed overgrowth caused the races to be cancelled.
This year, weeds got a jump start on the association. Although Trumpulis said they set a June date to avoid the typical weed overgrowth which usually occurs in August, an early spring created an unusual situation.
"By August, those were weeds were just as bad as they are now," Trumpulis said earlier this month.
On Monday, he said they actually thought about cancelling the races this year, but it appears too many people want them to happen.
"For some reason, our boat races really love this lake," Trumpulis said in an earlier article. "They love the people, and after the first year we had (races), we got such a good reception."