The Lake Tahoe area is full of fun, unique traditions, but my favorite may be the Great Sternwheeler Race. This year will be the 21st annual ‘paddle battles,’ and like most Tahoe residents I can’t wait.
There has always been a sort of friendly rivalry between the California and Nevada citizens who each feel an equal amount of pride and ownership of our beautiful lake, and that competition is given form each year when these two giant crafts fight for supremacy.
California’s Tahoe Queen and Nevada’s MS Dixie II will push off from their respective harbors on August 31st and work their way around the shoreline, six miles back to their starting point. Passengers often dress in 19th century period costume and the ships themselves are decked out in their finest.
This proper sternwheeler race is the only one of its kind west of the Mississippi, and the winner is awarded the Korbel Cup. In past years the loser has been presented with the Barton bedpan, another Tahoe tradition. This is to point out to them that they would have been better off staying in bed, and unfortunately for the California supporters, it has been the Tahoe Queen for 12 of the 20 races run so far.
Both boats board at 10am and passengers are offered a delightful brunch. They push off at 10:30 and the race itself begins at 11am. It usually lasts about an hour and a half. This year tickets will cost $25 for adults and $13 for children, plus $10 for parking at the marina if necessary.
Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.
Tristan Roberts is a native of South Lake Tahoe who can’t quite help but root for the Tahoe Queen. He currently sells lakefront real estate in the Tahoe area