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The International Tug Boat Race on the Detroit River dates back to 1949 and was originally a loosely organized event. For many years the event was discontinued until 1976 when the International Freedom Festival started the tradition once again. In 2003 the International Freedom Festival declared bankruptcy and the future of the race was in limbo. Local Detroit tug man Brian Williams, with help of numerous companies, individuals and the Detroit and Windsor Port Authorities was able to organize the event, keeping the long standing tradition alive.


1954 Detroit tugboat race.
Sid B. Ferriss Collection, courtesy Wade P. Streeter

 
Historic Articles from the 1955 Race Courtesy Capt Bill Hoey and Capt. Roger Stahl

Free Press photo of the tug Sachem winning the 1955 race.

Detroit News photo of Preston Foster, Stahl (center) and Earl McQueen
 
The tug Sachem had been sunk in December of 1950 killing the whole crew of 12 in Lake Erie without reason.  Capt.Stahl reported that no one wanted to sail the tug after that so he was determined to win the race to help clean up the tugs reputation. 

 

         

1955 tug race from Inland Magazine

   

 

   

Detroit News tug race article June 5, 1955

   
     
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