This hull was born in 1974 as the U-74 Valu Mart. Billy Schumacher piloted the hull during its first few years in competition as the Valu Mart, the U-74 Weisfield's, and U-74 Olympia Beer in successive years. In 1977, Bernie Little purchased it to run as a second boat, as the U-13 Natural Light.
In the summer of 1978, Ed Fisher, a prominent R/C boat racer from Seattle hooked up with Bill Bennett, the CEO of Circus Circus Enterprises. Bennett was also a radio control freak, and took immediate interest in R/C hydro racing. Things quickly progressed, and with the help of some fellow Seattle based R/C people, a decision was made to go boat racing for real in the Unlimited class. Bernie Little had the Anhauser Busch Natural Light boat (the former Weisfields/Olympia Beer hull) up for sale, and a deal was soon struck. The U-31 team debuted at the season-ending San Diego race that fall with a young Seattle driver named Steve Reynolds at the wheel. Reynolds had come to prominence in the limited ranks driving a boat named "White Lightning". With Reynolds came other prominent crew members, including Jim Harvey and Danny Heye. The Circus team produced a strong third place showing at San Diego, and the stage was set for bigger things.