Three Rivers Outboard Racing Association
They called themselves Three Rivers Outboard Racing Association. Three Rivers refers to the original home base in Pittsburgh, PA where the Ohio, Allegheny and Monogahela Rivers meet. They advertised through word of mouth and occasional newspapers. They met at the river's edge, signed their name on the class sign-up sheet, assigned a referee and raced from dawn to dusk. But unlike today, there was no "APBA", no legal mumbo-jumbo of sanctions, waiver release forms or insurance. It was a free-for-all and these were the "Wild Cat" races! And this was the beginning . . .
According to some of the founding participants, TRORA began somewhere around 1955 with the first meeting in the back of Howard Gregg's marine store in White Oak, PA just outside of Pittsburgh. Present were Howard Gregg, George Marker, Jimmy King, Sr., Galeen Gregg, Bill Vandall and his son Frank. George was believed to be the first Commodore and Bill Vandall was the first Secretary. The initial purpose of TRORA was to get racing off Lake Erie. Walter Ostasiewski built the first starting clock standing 6 feet tall, and Mrs Vandall handled a lot of the registrations at the races.
As racing grew the club merged with other regional clubs and the current TRORA charter was established in Mckeesport, PA on June 10, 1960. The Officers and Governors at the time were George & Catherine Marker, Howard Gregg, Sam Connachie, Jim King Sr, John Marco, Walter Ostasiewski, James Luparello, Wilson Seaman and H.W. Henning.
Popular racing spots included Neville Island, PA, Sistersville, WV, Steubenville, OH & Ravenswood, WV. a few years after the original charter, the club became involved in the sanctioning group of APBA, primarily to establish safe, consistent and fair regulated races. In December 1983, the charter was legally transferred and incorporated into Ohio by then club officers; Carl Holt, Jack & Joan Brewster, Kathy Saxvik and Steve Smith.
TRORA took on a new look in 1986 when fellow racer and art student, Bob Austin, Jr, of New Jersey designed a new logo for the club. This logo has changed very little over the years since then, with the changes from fellow racer Jeff Thompson of Real Runner providing the final update on the logo that is currently displayed on the club van, rescue boat and hats and shirts worn today by members and friends.
In 1965, TRORA held it's first Stock Nationals in Beaver, PA and hosted almost 500 drivers for the event. It wasn't until 1991 that the club conducted it's 2nd Stock Nationals at Pine Lake, near Youngstown, OH. Since 91, TRORA has hosted 6 national championships and countless North American Championships and Divisional races. In 1993, TRORA hosted the first ever combined Stock and Modified Nationals at Bluestone Lake in Hinton, WV and returned there for the 1995 & 1997 Stock, Mod & J Nationals. In 2001, the club hosted the Modified Nationals on AJ Jolly Lake in Alexandria, KY and in 2005 once again hosted the Modified Nationals on Two Mile Lake in Franklin, PA. TRORA continues to put on some of the best local races in OH, PA & KY, with the Franklin, PA race being one of the premier races in the country, year after year.
Today, Three Rivers Outboard Racing Association has grown into one of the top racing clubs in the country with many members who participate in the politics of the APBA and help steer our sport. TRORA club members who have been Category Chairman are; Bill Breaux - Modified, John Read - Modified, Jeff Williams - Modified and Jeff Brewster is the current Stock Chairman. TRORA has also had many members elected to the Stock, Modified and Pro National Commissions in the last 20 years, as well as it's members are very active in Regional politics.
The future of TRORA is only going to get better as the current core group continues to be added to with new members with fresh ideas. At TRORA, we are moving towards the future but always remember where we have come from and all the great people who have helped bring us to where we are now.