Bernard Little, Power Boats, Class of 1994
The list of personnel that have worked for Little in the past three decades reads like a "Who's Who" of Unlimited racing in the post-World War II era: drivers Bill Sterett, Mickey Remund, Dean Chenoweth, Jim Kropfeld, Tom D'Eath, and Chip Hanauer; and crew chiefs George McKernan, Tom Frankhouser, Dave Culley, Jeff Neff and Ron Brown.
"Out of all my victories, I think that the first on I ever won, and the last one that I won, are always my favorites. I seem to be as happy over the first one as much as the last one, as I could possibly be. Every win is just so important."
Anyone who succeeds, as Little has, knows the lengthy road one must walk down to enter the winner's circle. Although Little's Miss Budweiser team has virtually ruled the Unlimited waters in recent years, it hasn't always been that way. Indeed, the King of power boat racing remembers many a long night trying to bring a balky motor to life, work which would merely allow the team to make the field, let alone be competitive.
The Miss Budweiser dynasty actually started as a modest pact, growing out of a handshake between Little and August A. Busch III. It has developed into one of the most successful owner/sponsor relationships in all of motorsports.
"I like speed and competition," Little admits. "I like a good challenge and I just want to be better, faster and safer than anyone else on the race course."
Despite his many victories, including nine Gold Cups and many record-setting performances with the Miss Budweiser, Little considers his greatest triumph to be the development and introduction of the enclosed capsule that is now mandatory on all Unlimited hydroplanes and many other classes of boat racing. In November of 1989, Little was honored for his commitment to safety by the American Power Boat Association.
A rarity in this computer-based society, Little has been a winner in nearly everything that he has touched because he understands people. He demands the best of those who work for him, because he demands the best of himself.
Little's determination and success have been previously rewarded by induction into the Unlimited Hydroplane Hall of Fame, The Florida Sports Hall of Fame, the Hancock County (Ohio) Sports Hall of Fame, the St. Petersburg (Florida) Walk of Fame and the APBA Honor Squadron. He was honored in 1994 to receive the very prestigious Horatio Alger Award, which recognizes Americans who achieve success despite adversities. The Missouri Valley College has also recognized Little's outstanding accomplishments and service to community and mankind by granting him an honorary degree (Doctor of Humane Letters).