The inboard was owned and driven by Rose, a Patterson native and lifetime resident who died in 1992, from the mid-1950s until the early 1970s. It was viewed by many on the lawn outside the Patterson museum on Apricot Fiesta weekend. A display inside the museum about Rose and his boat will remain for some time.
Dan Rose of Patterson, one of Ernie’s sons, said the famous boat is being transported to the Seattle area by a racer from Southern California who has room in his trailer. Lil’ Bee ran in the B runabout class, the smallest in racing. It set every record in its class, which has been discontinued for lack of competition.
The Hydroplane Boat Racing Museum is in the community of Kent, just a taxi ride outside of Seattle. Dan Rose and his brother Norman “Gene” Rose of Manteca, plan to visit the museum soon.
The director of the museum, David Williams, says the facility is closed on Sundays and Mondays, but open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is visited by thousands of racing enthusiasts a year. Washington is the number one boat racing state in the nation.
The museum, according to Dan Rose, has on display many Gold Cup racers and it also restores boats. In the Lil’ Bee display will be large trophies won over Ernie Rose’s racing career, plus photos and newspaper articles written locally.
One interest shown by the museum in Washington is the race in Florida in which the Lil’ Bee topped larger E-class boats to the delight and surprise of spectators. Rose won hundreds of other races throughout California.
Dan Rose explained that one provision made with the Washington museum is that when the Patterson Township Historical Society acquires a suitable facility, Lil’ Bee will return home.
By RON SWIFT, Patterson museum curator.