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Winning on the Water: The Gretchen’s Automotive Hydro Boat

During this year’s Long Beach Sprint National Boat Races, there will be one high-speed hydro boat of particular interest for Gretchen’s Automotive owner Todd Kelm.

“My little guy runs a boat in it,” Kelm said.

Each year, Gretchen’s Automotive sponsors boats at various boat races and water skiing events. Kelm’s 12-year-old stepson, Sean Davison, will be racing a boat for Gretchen’s during the Long Beach Sprint Nationals, which is set to take place on Aug. 4 and 5 at Marine Stadium.

“We [at Gretchen’s] usually go and help support the race and we bring a towboat because boats break down or sink, and we tow the boats and bring them out of the water,” Kelm said. “My stepson has been watching us and decided he might like to do this and be involved in the races.”

One year, for Christmas, Kelm found a boat for sale, drove out to Havasu, and picked it up for his stepson.

“He’s pretty good,” Kelm said. “He usually finishes first or second. He’s always right there.”

In addition, Sean and the Gretchen’s team will take part in two additional races before the year concludes—the U.S. Open Water Ski event in Havasu Springs in September and a water ski and boat race enduro in Parker, Arizona in October. The boat race in Parker will consist of a race traveling 300 miles—hence its name “the enduro.”

Gretchen’s Automotive has accumulated a number of exquisite trophies at these boat races and water skiing events—the trophies surround Kelm’s office at the auto shop, so go check them out!

Come out to support Gretchen’s Automotive, Todd, and his stepson, Sean, at the Long Beach Sprint Nationals this year. Gates open at 8 a.m. and races start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4 and Sunday, Aug. 5. Daily admission is $20 for adults and $10 for children, but military members and children under 5 will get in for free.

Visit Gretchen’s Automotive Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m to 6 p.m., located at 1965 Palo Verde Ave. Visit or call (562) 430-3728 for more information.


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