Camp Far West – Bangin’ Boat Bash Kicks off Summer
By John Drummond
Photos by Steven Bunker
Camp Far West is the mecca for California hot boat fans. The reservoir, located at the junction of Placer, Nevada and Yuba counties in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada is big. Its 2,000 liquid acres and 29 miles of shoreline make it an ideal location for throttle down, boat sprints. Liquid Larry’s load up their tunnel ram-inducted, supercharged monster motor hydros, flat bottoms and pickle forks and as much meat and beer as they can pack into their dually and head to Camp Far West.
The CFW Summer Boat Bash officially kicked off summer boating season in grand fashion. Truth is, it’s a giant party. The boats here are alright, but the water gets choppy about 10 am and stays that way ‘til sundown. During the nine hours of downtime, it’s all about cold brews, suntans and grilled beef.
There are no hotels here. It’s all camping, hence the name of the joint. It’s kind of genius in the fact that it’s totally unorganized. To quote our onsite operative, “It’s about 50% camping, 35% boat show, and 15% “racing” – aka getting drunk and seeing who has the faster boat”.
Sounds like our kind of party! The people here are really cool and so is the CFW staff. Without a schedule to adhere to, everyone is super chill. The camping area is called Quarter Mile Cove. The roots of hot boating at Camp Far West date back to the 1980s and it has hung on ever since though some years more active than others. Generations of boaters cycle through. The one constant though is hot boats.
Though the summer boat bash is strong, but the biggest gathering of the year (believe it or not) is New Year’s Day. New Year’s Day? It’s 50 degrees on a warm winter day up here! But these days die-hard danger rangers still congregate around campfires and hot & holler as the boats blast by Quarter Mile Cove.
Most of the boats make spirited sprints and 80mph passes to blow out the carbon. But like any gathering where speed and power on display – some guys make loud statements with thunderous roars and fifty-foot rooster tails. During the Dad’s Day Hot Boat Bash we counted at least ten blown and injected alcohol-huffing boats which easily eclipsed the century mark once the water calmed down.
Much like an annual hot rod event, old friends convene here at CFW even though they don’t keep in touch over the course of the year. They know each other by name and by boat alright and they crack a brew and break bread together. The bond is the boats (and the beers!). In the end, it’s like any passion-filled hobby. The more passion, the better the party!
You can keep up to date with the Camp Far West hot boat happenings on their Facebook page here.