2003 Detroit River Tug Race
By Wade P. Streeter

With the roar of diesel engines and lots of black smoke, the 27th Annual Detroit-Windsor Tugboat race began on Saturday afternoon, June 28. The tugboat race has become one of the main events in the International Freedom Festival, a joint celebration between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan.

For 2003 there were 25 tugs registered for the race, although a few were unable to attend at the last minute. This is one of the largest turnouts in the history of the race. Tugboat races started back in the 1950's and for many years they were discontinued. 27 years ago the International Freedom Festival started the tradition once again and has made it one of the significant events in the festival.

2003 Race Results
First Over All: Roger Stahl
Class 6: Roger Stahl
Class 5: 1st- Shannon 2nd- Demolen
Class 4: 1st-Dover 2nd-Stormont
Class 3: 1st-Junior C 2nd-Julie Ann
Class 2: 1st-Isabell 2nd-Norma B
Class 1: 1st-KC 2nd-Westcott II
Best Decorated: 1st-Bay Taz 2nd-Isabell
Farthest away: Dover
Smallest Tug: Enterprize
Oldest Captain/Engineer: Roger Stahl
Pickle boat: Enterprize

3 - 2 - 1 GO!!!! Scott Tomlinson

The Tug Norma B. Scott Tomlinson

 Close Race for the bigger tugs. Terese Parker

Dover, Neptune III and Elizabeth after the race. Scott Tomlinson

Magnetic, Norma B and Enterprise with Demolen behind. Scott Tomlinson

Demolen Pushing Hard for the finish line. Mike Nicholls

The Shannon pulls away from the rest of the tugs in the beginning. Mike Nicholls

The Norma B. pulls ahead slowly. Scott Tomlinson

A differnt definition of "Rock and Roll". Scott Tomlinson

The Demolen showing her Classic Navy YTB lines.  Mike Nicholls

The Roger Stahl slowly catches up as the smaller tugs fall behind. Mike Nicholls

Neck in Neck almost to the finish line. Terese Parker

The Westcott Fleet. Terese Parker

The Dover fighting her way forward. Terese Parker

Demolen passing Downtown Detroit. Terese Parker

The Westcott II sneaking past the Junior C. II, or are they just trying to make another mail delivery? Terese Parker

Dover passing Downtown Detroit. Terese Parker

The Danny Boy or was it "The Polish Navy" ? Mike Nicholls

The tug Elizabeth sneaks past the Magnetic

The Mighty Magnetic. Mike Nicholls

The Roger Stahl.
Terese Parker

The Stormont appears to be getting ready to eat the Julie Anne for dinner. Terese Parker

The unusual tug Bionic. Mike Nicholls

Lots of screaming diesels.
Terese Parker

Bay Taz under the all the balloons. Mike Nicholls

Crowds at Dieppe Park view the tugs after the race.
Terese Parker

Overall winner Roger Stahl with the classic former Navy Tug Shannon rafted alongside.
Terese Parker

The Stephen B. Roman even participated in the race by making a lot of noise with their Airchime Horns. Mike Nicholls

The Bristol Bay and her Buoy Barge mark the finish line in Windsor.
Terese Parker

Another view of the Bionic.
Terese Parker

The Norma B. could have won an award for being the only boat with their own band aboard. The well known Celtic/Maritime Group "Hoolie" hailing from Bay City.
Carlos Velez

The John G. Munson passing by before the race. Mike Nicholls

Tugs, Tugs and more Tugs.
Terese Parker

Tug Isabel.
Terese Parker

The Tug Joan V. Mike Nicholls

The Norma B. attempts to beat the Magnetic right at the finish line.
 Carlos Velez

The Junior C II. Mike Nicholls

The Neptune III and the Sinbad run a close race.
Terese Parker

The Julie Anne demonstrates a new way to wash the decks.
Terese Parker

The R & R. Mike Nicholls

Another view of the Stormont and Julie Anne.
Terese Parker

The Bay Taz.
Terese Parker

The Tug Dover, a regular participant from Goderich, ONT. Mike Nicholls

Here come the Big Boys, better get out of the way. Mike Nicholls

The R & R pushing hard.
Terese Parker

2 classic riveted hull tugs, the Magnetic and Elizabeth.
Terese Parker

Another view of the Elizabeth. She is a newcomer to the lakes, recently brought in from Mass. Mike Nicholls

The faster tugs pull away at the start.
Carlos Velez

The Danny Boy, odd name for a boat in the "Polish Navy".
Terese Parker

After the race.
Terese Parker

Another view of the Dover. Mike Nicholls

Mike Nicholls

Heading for the finish line. Terese Parker

Elizabeth reaches the finish line.
Terese Parker

Looking down the deck of the "Buoy Barge".
Terese Parker

Another view of the Dover before the race. Mike Nicholls

Another view of the Elizabeth. Mike Nicholls

Bay Taz. Terese Parker

Roger Stahl races forward. Mike Nicholls

The Demolen shows her bow fenders, looking strangely like a giant mouth ready to bite anything in the way.
Carlos Velez

The Coast Guard keeps a watchful eye to ensure everyone stays safe.
Terese Parker

Bay Taz again.
Terese Parker

Roger Stahl, overall winner of the race.
Terese Parker

and more Tugs...
Terese Parker

Flags flying on board the Magnetic.
Carlos Velez

The tug Enterprise, what a pretty stovepipe stack. Mike Nicholls

The Elizabeth passes the Magnetic Close by.
Carlos Velez

Hoolie's "Hooligans" playing as the Norma heads for home after the race.
Carlos Velez

The tugs in front of the "Ren Cen" in downtown Detroit.
Terese Parker

People watching the race from the Windsor Side.
Terese Parker

Another view of the Enterprise.
Terese Parker

The Shannon and Dover.
Terese Parker

The Diamond Queen passing by.
Terese Parker

The Stahl by Cobo Hall.
Terese Parker

The Shannon with flags flying proud.
Terese Parker

The Sinbad.
Terese Parker

The Elizabeth at Dieppe Park. Mike Nicholls

The Dover waits for the start of the race. Mike Nicholls


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