Buffalo Launch Club News Page

Buffalo Launch Club News 2005

Official Buffalo Launch Club Website
503 East River Road
Grand Island, NY 14072

Commodore: William A. Reitebach
Vice Commodore: PC Robert S. Black
Rear Commodore: Capt. John A. Bruno
Fleet Captain: Capt. Douglas M. Scheid
Secretary: Capt. Richard T. Beck
Treasurer: James P. Burke
Frank P. DeGeorge
Robert W. DeGlopper
Capt. Thomas E. Grady
Kenneth D. Bambach
Capt. Thomas W. Stewart
Michael E. Ziegler

Interesting Sites
BLC Lighthouse
1906 Regatta Link       1907 Regatta Link
1908 Regatta Link       1950 Regatta Link
1957 Regatta Link             Wildroot Charlie
The Vintage Hydroplanes
"Official web site of the APBA Vintage & Historic Division"

15th Annual Boater's Seminar & Luncheon - 2005
    The Buffalo Launch Club's annual Boating Seminar and Luncheon is scheduled for April 23, 2005 and will be chaired by Don Leslie. A new feature this year will be a Boaters' Flea Market planned by the BLC membership committee and to be open following the seminar. Complete details as they become available.

Chris Weaver Recipient Of Spirit Of Antique Boating Award - 2004

(left) ACBS Boat Show Chairman Rich DeGlopper, Chris Weaver of Anchor Marine and Niagara Frontier Chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society President Sharon Dickenson
Bill DeGlopper Photo
   In recognition for her support of the Antique & Classic Boat Show 2004, held September 11, 2004 at the Buffalo Launch Club, Chris Weaver of Anchor Marine was named the recipient of the "Spirit Of Antique Boating Award." Recipients of this award are selected by the Niagara Frontier Chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society's Board of Directors and are persons, organizations or corporations who have dedicated years of service to the Chapter in an effort to promote antique & classic boating on the Niagara Frontier.
   Chris Weaver, for several years, has opened Anchor Marine for the boat show's use, permitting organizers to use her launching facilities, grounds for parking, tractors, employees, storage hanger for the past Saturday evening parties. She has also donated space for storage of the Chapter's property. "Without her generosity, our Chapter's educational opportunity through our boat show would not be possible," a spokesman for the Society said this week.

Buffalo Launch Club Lighthouse - 2004

Nathan Cook Photos - Information from BLC Lighthouse Restoration Chair Ron Hortman
   The Buffalo Launch Club, located at 503 East River Road, Grand Island, NY, boasts one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the nation. Members of the Club, who formed a restoration committee, have worked throughout the season to restore it to its glory. The lighthouse was power washed in the beginning to remove bugs and debris, then the top cap was painted BLC blue with the lightning arrestor shiny gold. Many hours of cleaning, scrapping, sanding, and calking went into the project. Windows surrounding the top beacon area have been replaced with vinyl replacement windows to seal the exterior which will stop deterioration.

Boat Show Attendance Fantastic - 2004
    The "Niagara Frontier Antique & Classic Boat Show" and Raceboat Reunion on Saturday, September 11, 2004 at the Buffalo Launch Club drew a fantastic crowd under sunny skies. Click for "Boat Show Winners."
   For a look at some of the boats and the crowds of people at Saturday's Antique and Classic Boat Show, click Antique Boat Show
   Names of the Island residents entering the field of about 200 boats follow:
• Flyin High JS-78 - Jersey Speed Skiff with Chevrolet 350 - Built in 1980 by Dave Paraskevas, J&S Fiberglass Specialties - Owned by Bill DeGlopper of Grand Island, New York
• Hot Ticket JS-25 - JSS hull with 283 Chevy - Built in 1980 by Dave Paraskevas, J&S Fiberglass Specialties - Owned by David K. Grant & John Horrigan of Grand Island, New York
• Pappa's Bundle JS-9 - Jersey Speed Skiff with 350 Chevrolet - Built in 1996 by Bender/ Nowack - Owned by John Gast of Grand Island, New York
• Sleeper M-2 - F Service Runabout with Ford 390 - Built in 1931 by Chris Craft - Owned by Tom Frauenheim of Buffalo, New York
• Stormalong JS-88 - Jersey Speed Skiff with 283 Chevy - Built in 1981 by Bud Bender - Owned by Rich DeGlopper of Grand Island, New York
• Bullet N-174 - "A" hydro class with 1937 Johnson 9.5 hp - Built in 1952 by Fillinger - Owned by Bill DeGlopper of Grand Island, New York
• The Hellion N-82 "B" class hydro with 1935 Johnson 16 hp racing - Built in 1950 by Fred Jacoby - Owned by Bill DeGlopper of Grand Island, New York - This "B" hydroplane belonged to Chett Webb, of Tonawanda, N.Y. Chet was Commodore of the Niagara Frontier Boat Racing Assn. He was a very successful driver during the 50's.
• 1957 Prowler F-Service Racing Raceboat, Cheetas Too Much - M-12, owned by Noel Blair.
• Donzi race boat - "The Other Woman" - limited edition fiberglass hull - owned by Gary Lewis
    Scroll down for previous 2004 Antique Boat Show story.

Antique & Classic Boat Show, "Shuffle off to Buffalo" at BLC This Saturday - 2004
    The "Niagara Frontier Antique & Classic Boat Show" and Raceboat Reunion - "Shuffle off to Buffalo" - is taking place from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. this Saturday, September 11, 2004 at the Buffalo Launch Club, 503 East River Road. Visitors will view 200 restored and functioning antique boats, including cruisers, sailboats and race boats. The day will also feature antique cars, a nautical flea market, live music, kids' activities and food and refreshments. For information and a list of entrants, click "Vintage Raceboat Shop". Scroll down for previous 2004 Antique Boat Show story.

Antique & Classic Boat Show, Car Show At Buffalo Launch Club - 2004
    The 27th annual "Niagara Frontier Antique & Classic Boat Show" and Raceboat Reunion will be staged at the Buffalo Launch Club, 503 East River Road, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, September 11, 2004. The event is held every September on the mighty Niagara River off the BLC, the oldest motor boat club in the United States. Officials are expecting to top previous years with over 200 boats plus an exhibit of antique and classic cars.
   Buffalo Launch Club members under Chairman Doug Saltzman host the show, providing food and refreshments and staffing the grounds. The show is admission free, however there will be a fee for parking.
   For a look at some of the boats on display at the 2003 boat show, click "Boat Show 2003 Photos".
   Current officers of the Niagara Frontier Chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society include President Sharon L. Dickinson, 1st Vice President Mick Griffin, 2nd Vice President Darryl Crane Recoding Secretary Jack Weibel, Treasurers Jennifer Frederick-Kelly, Jim Lewis (2004), John Dubickas (2004) and Directors 2-Year Term Mike Sceusa (2005), Alan Frederick (2005)

GIHS Seniors Awarded Buffalo Launch Club Scholarships - 2004

Scholarship winners Meghan White and Theodore Rogers
Ann Curry Photo
   Winners of the Harry Simpson Scholarships, awarded annual by the members of the Buffalo Launch Club on Grand Island are Meghan White and Theodore Rogers. The presentation was made at the BLC's Flag Raising Ceremony on Sunday, May 23, 2004 by Past Commodore Robert S. Black. The scholarship is given in remembrance of the Buffalo Launch Club's general manager of long standing, Harry Simpson who worked in that capacity from 1955 to 1980.
   Meghan will attend the University of Miami where she will study film and video. Theodore will attend Shenandoah University to study pharmacy. Both winners are honor roll students who will graduate from Grand Island High School this month.

14th Annual Boater's Seminar & Luncheon - 2004
   Members of the Buffalo Launch Club are offering their 14th Annual Boater's Seminar & Luncheon on Saturday, April 24, 2004 in the clubhouse, 503 East River Road, Grand Island.
   Presentations will be given by The Welland Canal Museum Curator, N.O.A.A. on "Marine Weather," and Local Law Enforcement Officers from the U.S. Border Patrol, Niagara Regional Police and N.Y.S. Parks Commission Police.
   Registration will take place at 9:30 a.m. with the program being held from 10 a.m. to noon. Lunch will follow. For reservations or further information, call the Club at 773-7629.
   Cost of the event, open to the public, is $11 which includes tax and gratuity. Door prizes will also be featured.

Buffalo Launch Club Officers - 2004

(Left) Commodore Jon Holler and MaryEllen

   Buffalo Launch Club officers and board members for 2004 were sworn into office on Saturday, December 27, 2003. This year's officers are Commodore Jon Holler, Vice Commodore George Schlemmer, Rear Commodore Dennis Daniels, Fleet Captain Bill Reitebach, Secretary Bill Curry, and Treasurer Tony Bruno.
   Member of the board of directors are Richard Beck, John Bruno, Jim Burke, Doug Scheid, Quinn Wright and Michael E. Ziegler.

Buffalo Launch Club Celebrates Centennial Year - 2003
By Teddy Linenfelser

Oct. 9, 2003 - Buffalo Launch Club and Lighthouse - Jodi Hayes Robinson Photos
Click photo for larger view
More BLC photos from the year 1907 may be seen by clicking "The Motor Boat"

   The 100th anniversary celebration of the Buffalo Launch Club, ongoing since the opening event, a Centennial Brunch held in January, will culminate with a formal dinner dance for members and their guests on Saturday, October 11, 2003 in the clubhouse.

In The Beginning

   It was Dr. Albert E. Hubbard who sent out invitations about his idea for a group of friends, all motorboat owners, to organize for the purpose of sharing their experiences and observations. The small group of boating enthusiasts met back in October 1903, October 9th to be exact, in Captain August C. Hager's boathouse on Squaw Island. Hager was elected the first commodore. In May 1904 the club purchased the "old Deacon clubhouse" on Squaw Island for $300. Initiation fee to join the club was $3 and dues were $2.
   The Buffalo Launch Club, which has the distinction of being the first power boat club in America and the first in the world, was incorporated on December 11, 1904 with 30 charter members.
   Club members quickly outgrew their first meeting place and decided that Grand Island's eastern shoreline in the area of Ferry Village was a most suitable place to build a clubhouse. Property, with 90-foot frontage on the Niagara River, was purchased from John V. Bedell on March 12, 1906 and construction of the first clubhouse on East River Road was completed in July of the same year. Total cost of the building and docks was $15,000.
Click photos for larger view - The original Buffalo Launch Club shown on postcards dated 1907.

   July 14, 1906 marked the formal opening of the spacious, new, three-story Buffalo Launch Club clubhouse on the East Niagara River on Grand Island, N. Y. and completion of an L shaped, sheeted pier that formed a harbor dredged to eight feet. The club's grounds featured tennis courts, a croquet field and quoit (similar to horseshoes) pits, accented by terraces, shrubbery and flowers. The building, 106 X 42 feet, featured wide verandas on three sides. Wide doors from the lower veranda opened into a reception hall with a massive fireplace and winding staircase.

BLC And Power Boat Racing

   The BLC's fame as a power boat racing club began in 1905 when the team of George and Harry Elliott won the club's first regatta cup with a spectacular record speed of 18 mph.
   Races were held over the course of the Buffalo Launch Club on September 8, 1906. Participants included the combined fleet of both the Launch Club and the Motor Boat Club of Buffalo. For the complete race story which includes details of races held September 15, 1906, click BLC Race Story.
   The members of the BLC in 1908 were responsible for the first boat show ever held between New York City and Chicago. The show was held at the Buffalo Auditorium and the Club received national acclaim as a top ranking power boat club in the nation. A mortgage burning took place in 1909, the same year that the Elliot brothers' new craft, "Redhead," set a record 29 mph in the boat racing world. Membership was close to 300 in 1910 with the club fleet numbering over 200 power boats.
   Over the next 10 years annual Club regattas were the main event on the Niagara Frontier, drawing a list of nationally known sportsmen that included Edsel Ford, Gar Wood, Dick Locke, Horace Dodge, William J. Connors, Robert Ringling and Harry Greening.
   The International Regatta under the BLC auspices, was an annual Niagara River sporting event from 1910-1920. Club histories give conflicting reports for the year 1926. A history by an unknown author in an August 1953 issue of the Island Dispatch reported that the City of Buffalo appropriated $5,000 to the Buffalo Launch Club on a yearly basis as an inducement to run the race course past Riverside Park for the benefit of the general public. The regatta suffered a crushing blow in 1926 when the boat, "Dixie," driven by Bob Burnham, careened into the Riverside Park shoreline, injuring several people. The accident caused the City of Buffalo to withdraw its financial assistance to the Club. Another history in the May 1967 edition of the Island Dispatch, author unknown, said that the regatta was discontinued in 1926 due to the fact that "pleasure cruisers" became the popular boat of choice for many BLC members in the 1920s and were dominating the Club's boating activities. In 1929, as a result of a $100,000 fire in boathouses at the foot of Amherst Street in Buffalo, 25 BLC boats were destroyed.

Buffalo Launch Club Lighthouse

   The landmark Buffalo Launch Club Lighthouse was taken by barge to the Island shoreline in 1931 by the Fix brothers, and eventually re-erected and later sold to Mike Steffen who used it as a trophy room next to his home on what is now part of the Launch Club property. The lighthouse was originally known as the Niagara Upper Range Light and stood at Niagara Street and Busti Avenue in Buffalo. Club members in the late 1990s completely refurbished its exterior.

Clubhouse Destroyed By Fire

   The 25-year-old Buffalo Launch Club clubhouse, remodeled just two years earlier, burned to the ground in 1931 along with other BLC owned buildings on the property including an ice house, storage building and garage. A barn on the Bedell House property also caught fire and burned. Hastily formed bucket brigades of Island residents were put into action and the Kenmore and Town of Tonawanda fire departments, whose only access was by ferry boat, fought a valiant but losing battle against the flames. The building with its furnishings was valued at between $75,000 and $100,000.
   Membership had fallen to a low of approximately 160 members at the time of the fire, which occurred in the middle of the 1931 boating season. The clubhouse had been decorated for the building's 25th anniversary which was to be celebrated the following day and anticipation was high for this major event.
   "The event was to be one of the brilliant affairs of the season and reservations had been made for a capacity attendance," a Buffalo newspaper reported. The day was to be known as "Louis Fischer Day," in honor of Louis A. Fischer, one of the charter members and founders of the club.

BLC Rebuilds

Click photo for larger view - A ground breaking ceremony was held for the new Buffalo Launch Club clubhouse on East River Road, Grand Island in 1931. Shown from left are Leo Meyer, George Neilson, Harry Elliott, Phillip Schaeffer, Frank Schumacher, Louis Fischer, William Jones, BLC Commodore Robert Huntley, Fred G. Hendler, George C. Hall, Alexander C. Meyer, and Town Supervisor John L. Mesmer. The new building was to replace the original clubhouse that burned to the ground in the middle of the 1931 boating season.
(Photo by Courier-Express Chief Photographer Frank Schifferle)

   BLC members of the well-established club not only replaced the building on the same site the following year, but also purchased three additional acres of land from Frank and Charles Fix. The land expanded the original property westward to East River Road and a roadway was built to provide another entrance, in addition to the original entrance off Ferry Road, now the Anchor Marine driveway. A cornerstone was laid in March 1932, and a formal opening of the new clubhouse was held on Decoration Day, May 30, 1932.

The BLC clubhouse, shown after it was replaced following a fire that completely destroyed the original building.

The foyer in the new clubhouse is shown left and the spacious, tastefully appointed lounge is on the right.

Hard Times

   Times were tough, unemployment was high, businesses were failing and hardships were felt by many during the depression years. The 1930s were described in the club's 75th anniversary booklet by BLC member Joe Glaser as "lean" for the Buffalo Launch Club, a time when Commodore Dave Wende (1933) and Commodore Alexander C. Meyer (1935-45) "dug deeply into their own pockets to keep the club solvent." When membership dropped to 50 in 1935, members were assessed $50 to help pay the club's bills. Though the club brought back the regatta in 1935, the gloom of the depression still prevailed. The club was forced to suspend operations in the fall of that year and the grounds were said to have grown up in weeds. Commodore Meyer and Vice Commodore Martin F. McSweeney's perseverance effected the club's reopening in July of 1938 with 22 members on its roster.
   Interesting to note is the fact that up until July 1935, the only means to get to the club was by public ferry or private boat. The opening of the Grand Island bridges in 1935, gave the membership access to their clubhouse all year round.
   In 1939, with the status of the club no better, Harry Simpson was hired as club steward to help take some of the pressure off the vice commodore and general manager, Martin McSweeney who was credited with working hard to bring the operation out of the doldrums. Harry served his country in World War II, returning to the Club in the fall of 1945, and was named general manager in 1955. He did an outstanding job of running the Buffalo Launch Club and helped to bring the club to its high ranking status in the nation. He retired in November 1980 and was subsequently honored as Citizen of the Year by the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce.

Financial Struggle Continues

   From the late '30s through the World War II era, there was little change in the club's welfare. However, according to one history of the club, the interior of the building was remodeled, the bar re-located and the open porch was enclosed and paneled in 1939. The Buffalo Launch Club fleet joined the Coast Guard Reserve during World War II with membership held to 75 due to limited dock facilities.

The Buffalo Launch Club as it looked in the 1940s and 50s when the BLC Regattas were in their heyday.

   The dust had somewhat settled from the war years and in 1946 membership climbed back up to 75, money started coming into the club, 165 feet of riverfront was purchased, and construction was underway to enlarge the basin and dock facilities. With the basin completed in 1947, speedboat racing, "sparked by George J. Trimper, former boat racer and world record holder," was revived at the Buffalo Launch Club and drew 25,000 spectators to the Island, according to a feature in the May 24, 1967 edition of the Island Dispatch.

World War II Over - Regattas Resume

   World War II was behind us and the 1950s got off to a good start under the leadership of Commodore Robert C. Schutt Sr. Membership rose to 100, and the financial situation was much improved. The annual international regattas over the Niagara River course off the BLC put the club back in the forefront of major boat racing across the nation. In August of 1949, with more than adequate facilities, the BLC international regatta was renewed and attracted 25,500 spectators to Grand Island, NY. In 1950 and again in 1952, the Buffalo Launch Club became the recipient of the most coveted award, "Outstanding Drivers' Regatta in the World." It was George Trimper and his committee who conducted the regattas for 14 years, drawing the most competitive of the limited and unlimited racing teams. Not once, but two years in a row, the American Power Boat Association pronounced the BLC's international regatta as the best regatta staged on the continent.
   Records show that the Buffalo Launch Club's International Regatta took place on Saturday and Sunday, August 19-20, 1950 when the 48 cubic inch runabouts were the newest class of racing. Joseph Van Blerck Jr. in his reliable "Aljo" won the national championship in the seven liter class when a reported 50,000 people witnessed Sunday's races. Grand Island's Al Endres driving his "Sour Puss" took a fifth place but it was Guy Lombardo's "Tempo VI" that won the feature event for unlimiteds by nearly a mile. A late afternoon feature was a race for old-timers' speed boats.
   With the Buffalo Launch Club in its 50th anniversary year, the annual two-day regatta was held August 15-16, 1953 on the extended 2 1/2 mile Niagara River course. The event attracted over 150 entrants, including many national and world champions in competitions for runabouts, hydroplanes and seven liter boats. Among them were Sherm Crechfield, national champion in the Class E; and former world record holder, Dick Rankin of Pontiac, Michigan in "Hi Ball"; Art Hatch, an outstanding Canadian driver in "Costa Lotta" and "Lotsa Costa"; orchestra leader Guy Lombardo in his Tempo VI; and of course our own champion in his own right, Al Endres.
   The list of boatracers who participated in the BLC regattas is a long one. Among some of the more famous names not mentioned above are Ed Endres, Joe Less, Wild Bill Cantrell, Bob Schroeder and Bob Petz.

Smooth Sailing

   Like an unsinkable ship, the Buffalo Launch Club, from the 1950s through today has had smooth sailing. Property and building improvements have been non-stop. The club's boat basin was improved in 1956 with reinforced docks and a new steel breakwall. The parking facilities were enlarged and a refinishing and redecorating project began in the clubhouse. A new dining room was completed in 1958 and a new kitchen and equipment were added in 1960. New docks were installed in 1961 and the last of many annual summer regattas was held in 1962. Membership in May of 1967 reached 230. Chef Renee Gerber joined the staff at the Launch Club in 1968 and remained the head chef for 35 years.
   Community minded Launch Club members established the Harry Simpson Scholarship awards in 1990 and hosted their first spring Boaters' Seminar and Luncheon at the clubhouse in 1991. Hosting the Niagara Frontier Antique & Classic Boat Show for many years, the Club held its first Friday night pit party and reunion for boat racers as a kick off for the 23rd annual show in September 2000.
   As the club entered the year 2000, studies were made and plans were laid for the huge project of a new and enlarged boat basin. Dedication of the Club's $850,000 boat basin was made during the May 2002 Flag Raising ceremonies. The expanded facilities gives members the assurance of calm water dockage, and nearly doubles the number of available boat slips.
   Summer recreation for many members centers around their boats, anywhere from a 15' Doral to a 57' Carver but outdoor activities are not limited to cruising down the river. The Club boasts a swimming pool, tennis courts and picnic grove and holds summertime dock parties on a monthly basis. And the dinner dances, clam bakes, steak roasts, and the wine tasting parties, boat cruises and holiday events make social life at the BLC a non-stop affair.
   The Buffalo Launch Club, the oldest organization on Grand Island, NY, has endured and enjoyed its first 100 years. It is the fervent hope of its members that history will repeat itself when, perhaps, future generations of their own families will be planning a bi-centennial celebration of the 200th anniversary of the oldest power boat club in the world!
Editor's Note: The following interesting note taken from the February 26, 1905 edition of the Buffalo Express was added to this story on October 8, 2005. A "smoker" was an event of amusement or jesting.
Lots of Fun at Launch Club -
Smoker was a Hummer

   Squaw Island was a place of mirth and good fellowship last night, for the simple reason that the Buffalo Launch Club held a smoker. The fun began early in the evening and was kept up until a late hour, when the mariners betook themselves to their respective bunks. Ship ahoy! and a double hitch at the trousers was the countersign.
   The entertainment committee did itself proud and the best talented in the club did stunts for the others. Chief Pilot Kelly was on hand to see that all were piloted safely over the locks. Club Chef Frank Miller had the boys wondering why he hadn't done it before. The hit of the evening was the sparring match. Captain Hess boxed the compass and Mat Upper wound it. Boatswain Minkle was on hand to weigh the anchor, and then Susie's band got busy.
   The club now has a membership of 105, with 25 applications on the waiting list. The limit has been placed at 150, and it is expected the membership will be filled in a short time. (Feb. 26, 1905 article)
Editor's Note: . . .added October 8, 2005. The Buffalo Launch Club for most of its history preceding the 1950s, was closed during the winter.

Flag Officers 2003
Carlos A. Santos, MD, Commodore
Jon H. Holler, Vice Commodore
George R. Schlemmer, Rear Commodore
Dennis R. Daniels, Fleet Captain
Michael E. Ziegler, Secretary
Anthony L. Bruno, Treasurer
Directors 2003
James P. Burke
William R. Curry
P.C. Weston B. Hoddick Jr.
Herbert M. Miller
William A. Reitebach
Quinn Wright

Evening Of Wine And Food Tasting At BLC - 2003
   An evening of international wine and food tasting will be held in the Buffalo Launch Club from 6-9 p.m. Friday, November 7, 2003.
   Over 150 varieties of wines including those from France, Chile, Australia, California and Spain are being provided by Colony Wine and Liquor, Eber Brothers, and Wayne Riggs from Great Arrow Wine and Liquor. Guests will sample international delicacies prepared by the BLC's Executive Chef Scott Donhauser. All wines will be available for purchase at the lowest possible pricing.
   The wine event was originally scheduled for October 24th, however, due to the early positive response, it has been postponed to November 7th.
   The event, sponsored by the BLC Mates, is open to the public with proceeds to benefit the Hospice Foundation. Call the Club at 773-7629 for further information.

26th Antique & Classic Boat Show Photos - 2003

Island resident Anne Barker, who has been racing in regattas around the country for several years herself, was on hand to show off her dad, Greg Barker's championship hydroplane, "Rewinder," winner of the Nationals and North American Championship in 2003. Anne is shown with John Bidell, who attends Connor Middle School on the Island. Anne's father built the 1/4 midget race car in 1958 with the help of her grandfather, Ralph Barker, and raced it for several seasons.
Teddy Linenfelser Photos

(left) The "Edward M. Cotter" fireboat, built over 100 years ago and capable of pumping 15,000 gallons of water per minute, is shown with all water nozzles in operation at Saturday's boat show. On the right is a hydroplane racing past the BLC and raising a good rooster tail.
John C. Bidell Jr. Photos - Click for larger view.

The Niagara Frontier Chapter Antique and Classic Boat Society's Boat Show was held over the weekend and open to the public on Saturday, September 6, 2003 at the Buffalo Launch Club. The weather could not have been any better and may have been key to the tremendous crowd who attended and enjoyed the antique boats of every era. Several hydroplanes that had raced in front of the Buffalo Launch Club in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, were lifted into the river with a huge crane just as they were way back when, and then raced by with rooster tails high and the noise of the engines, music to the ears of those who remember. The Buffalo Launch Club, oldest power boat club in the world, was organized in 1903 and its membership is in the midst of a year-long centennial celebration.

Antique & Classic Boat Show Saturday - 2003
   Scroll down to the next two stories for information on this Saturday's (Sept. 6) Niagara Frontier Chapter, Antique and Classic Boat Show being held at the Buffalo Launch Club, 503 East River Road.

Antique Boat Show Registrants Announced - 2003

   This year's Niagara Frontier Chapter, Antique and Classic Boat Show will feature antique and classic boats of all makes, models and years and an antique car show. The extensive list of 2003 Boat Show registrants includes:

  • Islander Noel Blair's 1957 Prowler F-Service Racing Raceboat, Cheetas Too Much
  • Bob and Victoria Bannister-Winch's race boat, Baby Gar V
  • Rich DeGlopper's 1938 Chris Craft Racing R/B, Tinker Toy
  • Bill John's 1948 Gar Wood Speedster, 0bsession (shown above)
       Click ACBS Registrants for the complete list to date.
       The show, open to the public from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, September 6, 2003, is being hosted at the Buffalo Launch Club, 503 East River Road, by the BLC membership under the chairmanship of Doug Saltzman. Food and refreshments including a chicken barbeque will be featured on Saturday. Scroll down for more Antique and Classic Boat Show information.

    "Shuffle Off To Buffalo" Is Antique Boat Show Theme - 2003
       President Tom Gruenauer of the Niagara Frontier Chapter, Antique and Classic Boat Society has announced the theme of the 26th annual Antique and Classic Boat Show as "Shuffle off to Buffalo." This year's show, hosted by members of the Buffalo Launch Club at their clubhouse at 503 East River Road, Grand Island, is scheduled for September 5-7, 2003. The show will be open to the public from 10am-4:30pm on Saturday, September 6, 2003.
       According to President Tom Gruenauer, the NFA&CB is encouraging boat owners to bring out their treasures and share them and their stories. "Come help us celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Buffalo Launch Club, the oldest power boat club in North America," he said. "Gar Wood raced here in his top hat and tails in the 1920s. Jay Smith and Guy Lombardo also raced here. The list of famous boats and racers that have come to Buffalo and the Niagara River to race is impressive. Won't you come to our "River" and make a little history of your own?," the president also said.
       For a boat show registration form click
    Classic Boat Show Registration Form and scroll down.

    Buffalo Launch Club Flag Raising - 2003

    Show in left photo are the Harry Simpson Scholarship winners, Joseph Pasqualochio and Paul Schneeberger.
    Fred Claus photos
       Members, their families and guests gathered at the Buffalo Launch Club under sunny skies and warm temperatures for the Club's centennial flag raising on Sunday, May 25, 2003. The annual raising of the flag, not only opens the boating season at the Club, but is also a time for remembering members who have "crossed the bar" and a time to honor the club's past commodores. Music was provided by Grand Island High School band members.
       Immediate Past Commodore Weston B. Hoddick Jr. was inducted into the International Order of the Blue Gavel. Past Commodore Robert S. Black, an Island resident and 33-year member, and Past Commodore Norm Courey, a 38-year member, were given the BLC Life Membership awards. Joseph Pasqualochio, a member of the Grand Island High School Class of 2002 and Paul Schneeberger, a 2003 graduate of St. Joseph Collegiate Institute were the winners of the Harry Simpson Scholarship awards. Mr. Pasqualochio is attending the University of Pittsburg School of Engineering, and Mr. Schneeberger will attended SUNY Geneseo where he will be a chemistry major. The scholarships, established in 1990, are given in memory of Harry Simpson, who served as the Buffalo Launch Club's manager for 42 years.
       The traditional throwing of the wreath over the water was in memory of longtime member Walter DeGlopper who passed away since the last flag raising. Chef Renee Gerber presented a champagne brunch that included breakfast fare along with salmon, roast turkey and prime rib of beef immediately after the outdoor event. BLC members buried a time capsule in 1978 as part of the club's 75th anniversary celebration and this was opened in the afternoon. The Buffalo Launch Club is the oldest chartered power boat club in America.

    Buffalo Launch Club Committee Seeks Club Memorabilia, Photos
       March 2003 . . .Members of the Buffalo Launch Club, in celebration of the Club's centennial year, have formed a committee to produce a hardcover, keepsake Centennial Book of the Buffalo Launch Club's history, photos and more. Those having items to loan the BLC book committee are asked to contact Bill Curry (674-3132), Wes Hoddick (692-7941 or 628-1899), Teresa Hooper (773-9398) or Helen at the Club (773-7629). All submissions will be documented and returned promptly.

    Antique & Classic Boat Show 2003 Announced
    The Niagara Frontier Antique & Classic Boat Society has announced dates for its 26th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Show & Race Boat Reunion. The show will be hosted by the members of the Buffalo Launch Club at the Club, 503 East River Road, Grand Island, NY on September 5-7, 2003. The boat show will be open to the public on September 6, 2003 only. For a registration form click Classic Boat Show Registration Form and scroll down.

    Safe Boating Course - March 2003
       The Buffalo Power Squadron will hold it four-lesson safe boating course on four consecutive Thursday evenings at the Buffalo Launch Club, 503 East River Road. The first session starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 6, 2003.
       The course meets all the provisions of a new state law that requires all operators of personal watercraft to have participated in such a boating course by January 1, 2004.
       Although the course is free and advance registration is not required, there is a small charge to participants for learning materials.
       For further information, call 694-7402 or send an email to

    Buffalo Launch Club Hosts 13th Annual Boaters' Seminar - 2003

       Members of the Buffalo Launch Club will host their 13th annual Boaters' Seminar and Luncheon at the clubhouse, 503 East River Road on Saturday, April 12, 2003. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. followed by the program from 10 a.m. to noon and luncheon from noon to 1 p.m.
       Presentations will include Law Enforcement Officers, 100 Years of Boating, and WNY Homeland Security. Others will be announced.
       For reservations ($11) or for further information, call the Club, 773-7629.

    25th Antique & Classic Boat Show Photos
    Barbi Lare Photos

    The Silver Anniversary of the Niagara Frontier Chapter Antique and Classic Boat Society's Boat Show and Race Boat Reunion was held September 7, 2002 at the Buffalo Launch Club, oldest power boat club in the world. The vintage boats of yesteryear showed off on a beautiful, hot and sunny Saturday. Several of the antique race boats that took part in the international regattas off the Buffalo Launch Club in the 1940s-1960s, raced up and down the river, under the watchful eye of the Coast Guard. Shown left is the Baby Gar V, a 1925, 33' Garwood Race Boat owned by Bobby Bannister. This boat has a colorful history including a race against a New York Central Train down the Hudson River in 1926. Believe it or not, "Baby Gar V" won the race," as quoted from the show program. Several of the owners dressed in the period of their boats. All the boating activity was staged under the stately Launch Club Lighthouse.

    Antique Boat Show Feature
    Click "BUFFALO NEWS" for a story on this weekend's Antique & Classic Boat Show.

    25th Annual Antique and Classic Boat Society Boat Show At BLC
       The 25th Annual Antique and Classic Boat Society Boat Show, Race Boat Reunion & Upper Niagara River Cruise at the Buffalo Launch Club will be held September 6-8, 2002. There is no admission to the show, open to the general public from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 7, however there is a $3 parking fee. Members of the Buffalo Launch Club will host the Niagara Frontier ACBS Chapter's antique boat show weekend as they have for many years. A food concession will be available on the BLC grounds at 503 East River Road.
       Added features will include an classic/antique car show and a live band.
       For more ACBS information, contact Alan Frederick, 716-692-3611 home, 716-892-1425 work, 716-892-1426 fax,
    Alan Frederick email or click ACBS. Click 25th Annual Niag. Frontier Antique & Classic Boat Show for another interesting Silver Anniversary site.
       The Antique and Classic Boat Society is the world's largest organization devoted to classic watercraft.

    BLC Opens 2002 Boating Season with new $850,000 Basin
    Buffalo Launch Club members held their traditional flag raising ceremony Sunday and officially opened the new boat basin which has doubled the capacity of the previous facility. For a complete story, click "Buffalo News." Also check out the official BLC Web Site.

    BLC Hosts 25th Antique & Classic Boat Show

    This photo, taken by Bill DeGlopper during the Buffalo Launch Club APBA Vintage Event on September 7, 2001, was featured on the cover of the April 2002 issue of Propeller, the official publication of the American Power Boat Association. The magazine also offered a feature story on the Antique and Classic Boat Show of 2002. Click photo for larger view.

       The 25th annual Niagara Frontier Antique & Classic Boat Show will take place September 6-8, 2002 and will be opened to the public on Saturday, September 7, 2002 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. at the Buffalo Launch Club grounds, 503 East River Road, Grand Island, NY.
       There is no fee to attend. There is a parking fee.
       For Buffalo Launch Club regattas of yesteryear, see webpages above.

    BLC Expands Boat Basin

    Photo by BLC Director Tony Bruno

    A major basin expansion has been underway all winter in front of the Buffalo Launch Club, and club officials are confident the basin will be completed for the 2002 boating season. The expansion project assures calm water dockage, and will nearly double the number of available boat slips for Buffalo Launch Club members. For more close-up pictures, click the official
    BLC Web Site, courtesy of BLC Director Tony Bruno, and check out "BLC Marina" on the right menu.

    Safe Boating Course At BLC

       A Safe Boating Course will be given by the Buffalo Power Squadron beginning 7:30 p.m. Thursday, February 28, 2002 at the Buffalo Launch Club and running for four consecutive Thursday evenings.
       This course meets all new state requirements for operators of personal water craft. By 2004, all operators of PWC on New York waters must have completed a safe boating course.
       The course is free, however there is a small charge for course materials. All boaters who complete the course may present their certificate to their insurance company for a discount.
       For further information or to register, call 937-6970.

    Antique & Classic Boat Show - Antique Car Show - 2001

    A fantastic showing of antique cars including this 1917 model and antique, classic and race boats drew a record crowd at Saturday's 2001 Niagara Frontier Antique & Classic Boat Show held at the Buffalo Launch Club.
    Fred Claus photos)

    BLC Hosts Antique & Classic Boat Show

       The 24th annual Niagara Frontier Antique & Classic Boat Show is scheduled Saturday, September 8, 2001 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Buffalo Launch Club grounds, 503 East River Road, Grand Island, NY.
       Attendees at Saturday's show will witness the runabouts, cruisers and raceboats running in the Niagara River throughout the day. The boat show, which will also feature skiffs, canoes, antique automobiles and a "Field of Dreams" swap meet, is free and open to the public. There is a parking fee.
       Due to last year's success, Buffalo Launch Club members will host a Friday night pit party and reunion billed as a "Race Boat Reunion of Speed Boat Racers."
       An interesting part of the BLC promotion of the raceboat reunion follows: "If your grandfather or your father was a powerboat racing man, it is a cinch that he raced at the Buffalo Launch Club in his racing days. The club, founded in 1903, is the oldest powerboat club in the country and has held some of the finest regattas every put together."
       The notice goes on to say that, "Here you'll find good fellowship and hospitality like nothing you have experienced in years. The pits are directly in front of the clubhouse and the clubhouse and its facilities are at your complete disposal of the drivers and their entourage."
       For Buffalo Launch Club regattas of yesteryear, see webpages above.

    Buffalo Launch Club Flag Raising - 2001

       Members, their families and guests gathered at the Buffalo Launch Club Sunday, May 20, 2001, for the Club's 98-year traditional flag raising, a time for remembering those members who have "crossed the bar" and a time to honor its past commodores. Music was provided by the Brass Quintet from The Grand Island High School Marching Band.
       Immediate Past Commodore Richard H. Sander (3rd photo, right) was inducted into the Order of the Blue Gavel and Past Commodore Richard J. Dobmeier (3rd photo, left) was given the Life Member award. Grand Island High School seniors Katie Remus and Michael Pfetsch were the winners of the Harry Simpson Scholarship awards. The scholarships are given in memory of Harry Simpson, who served as the Buffalo Launch Club's Manager for 42 years, helped the Club through "some very formidable times and was a major player in making the Buffalo Launch Club what it is today."
       BLC Commodore Mark Hoey had the honor of throwing the wreath over the water to honor those who have passed away since the last flag raising. The Buffalo Launch Club is the oldest chartered power boat club in America.
       For a larger view, click on any of the last four photographs. (Fred Claus photos)

    Easter Sunday at the Buffalo Launch Club

       Easter Brunch at the Buffalo Launch Club was attended by close to 400 members and their families. An outstanding buffet was enjoyed by everyone. The Easter Bunny greeted children and adults, and the highlight for the youngsters was the annual Easter Egg Hunt. Shown are Jessica and Ryan Osvath with their great grandmother, Margaret Edwards. The Osvath children are the son and daughter of BLC members Mr. and Mrs. Randolph Osvath. Ryan and Jessica attend Kaegebein Elementary School here on the Island, where they were both recent recipients of the "Pride of the Island" Award. Proud grandparents who submitted the photos are Mr. and Mrs. Richard Betz.

    Buffalo Launch Club Hosts Boaters' Seminar

       Members of the Buffalo Launch Club on Saturday, March 3, will host their 11th annual Boaters' Seminar and Luncheon at their clubhouse, 503 East River Road. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. followed by the program at 10 a.m. and a buffet lunch at noon.
       "Bareboat Chartering With Kids" will be presented by William and Michelle Kosar, and a series of marine law enforcement updates will be presented by the state police and the U.S. Border Patrol. Safe boating information, inspections and literature will also be available.    Call 773-7629 for reservations or for further information.

    If you are a member of this organization, we need your help. GIECOM.Net has partnered with the Connections program to help Grand Island as a community "Get it Together." Please visit our website G-I-Together.ORG and fill out our SURVEY. Every group on Grand Island will have its own FREE web page showing: meeting times and location, contact persons, your Mission Statement and a listing of events. We will also be linking your news events that appear in the local media and on IsledeGrande.Com, Grand Island's E-News Source, to your page, maintaining an archived journal of pictures and news. This is the perfect opportunity for your group to connect with potential new members and the community.

    Other Grand Island Pages to Visit:
    Churches | Email Directory | Government | Groups
    GIHS Grad List | Guestbook | Please sign in! | Local Artists | Photo Album | Town History | Useful Links
    | Website Design | Wildlife | Isledegrande's Home Page | GIECOM.NET'S Home Page  
    Please Email News Releases to Teddy Linenfelser, Thank You.

    This website is sponsored by

    1869 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island, New York, 14072-1803 USA
    Copyright © 1995-2003 All rights reserved.