What started as the brainchild of Live Bait owner, Gary Nichols, the inaugural Thunder on the Gulf powerboat race was held in late August of 2003, only months after he and some friends had founded the Gulf Coast Powerboat Association.
With a turnout described as, “The second largest gathering of people in the state,” according to then Governor Fob James, the board of the GCPA was quickly contacted to have a World Championship race, in November of 2003.
The extremely strong beginnings of Thunder on the Gulf are perhaps the reason for its longevity and its cultural significance to the area. The 32 miles of sandy coastline located within the cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach have created a truly unique landscape for spectators, and enabled such an event to even take place.
Thunder on the Gulf has faced some setbacks during its nine year existence, however. Across the nation, 2009 marked such a devastating year economically that the idea of holding the event seemed unrealistic. After the oil spill in 2010, the event once again seemed unable to happen.
However, with the aid of state acquired money from BP, the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism department said the event should go on. And go on it did!
With barely six weeks to work out the details, the Offshore Powerboat Association and area put together another world class event. Throw a few well placed concerts into the same weekend as the races and the event was once again what it was famous for: Fun, Family Friendly and Successful.
Working with a “full steam ahead” attitude for this year’s races, the team at the Gulf Coast Powerboat Association has been putting together the largest weekend in the event’s history. Beginning with a Boat Parade from Race Village at Gulf State Park to The Wharf and a Gala with live music and a silent auction, the event is already off to a good start.
For more information on the events surrounding this year’s Thunder on the Gulf, be sure to visit www.ThunderOnTheGulf.com.
To take advantage of our Thunder on the Gulf Special and book a great condo on the race course to view the practices and races from your private balcony, visit our Specials Page or call our Reservation Professionals at (251) 405-5587 today!