on the Rebound
biggest festival week
offers a variety of family fun
strong field of Unlimiteds
plus vintage boats on tap
(July 2012) After a challenging year of rebounding
from the tragic accident that plagued the 2011 Madison Regatta, the
festival committee has managed to return in 2012 with a strong program
that features one of the most competitive fields yet of Unlimited hydroplanes
to race on the Ohio River.
Whats more, the committee has added a vintage race boat exhibition
to the schedule, providing both racing excitement and nostalgia to this
years Regatta, which has once again secured title sponsorship
from Lucas Oil.
The all-volunteer Madison Regatta Inc. is expecting a successful 62nd
year of staging Madisons largest festival and the popular H1 Unlimited
Hydroplane boat racing series July 6-8.
Crystal McHargue, who presided over the committee as president for four
years. has stepped down but has been working closely with president
Herb Parker to organize this years event and carry on the Fourth
of July tradition in Madison. But it did not come without first securing
insurance after having been dropped from the previous insurance company
in the wake of last years accident. In fact, Parker told his committee
a few weeks ago that this years Regatta could lose as much as
$25,000 because of the higher cost for insurance.
photo by Alexis Saba
Myers, driver of the U-11
Peters & May Unlimited
hydroplane, signs autographs
for race fans at a previous
Madison Regatta festival. Myers
won the Indiana Governors Cup
race here in 2005 while driving
for his then-boss Erick Ellstrom.
Other costs to rent cranes and safety and rescue equipment
also have gone up, adding to the financial woes. Yet, the committee
has persevered and secured a new insurance policy just in time to bring
a fleet of 12-13 Unlimiteds to Madison. Then on June 5, the Regatta
committee announced it had secured Lucas Oils support once again
as its title sponsor. The committee also reported that it earned $6,000
from its second annual car show, held last Memorial Day Weekend.
Last year, the Regatta was plagued by two accidents. The first occurred
when Brian Perkins drove his Unlimited boat across the infield and accidentally
veered off course and into a safety rescue boat. All three volunteer
safety rescue people were thrown into the river and injured. All three
subsequently filed lawsuits and those suits were recently settled.
Then in the four-lap Final Heat, driver Dave Villwocks boat, Spirit
of Qatar, spun out in front of the Oh Boy! Oberto-Miss Madison on the
fourth lap, resulting in his disqualification. Steve David, driving
the Oberto, was unable to avoid a collision with the Qatar. The Oberto
rolled over in mid-air and landed upright. Neither driver was seriously
injured but both boats sustained damage. The Oberto was declared the
winner, repeating the previous years victory.
Ongoing construction of the Milton-Madison Bridge also will impact the
race course setup for the second year. Last years 2 1/2-mile course
was shortened to 1.67 miles because of the bridge construction. Race
boats were not to be routed under the Milton-Madison Bridge as in years
past. This year, the course has not yet been determined but is likely
to be lengthened to at least two miles by moving it west and farther
downstream and away from the bridge, race officials say.
Aside from the insurance and legal issues stemming from the infield
boat accident, plans for the festival and associated events have not
been affected. In fact this year, just three weeks before the Regatta,
the committee added a vintage race boat exhibition to the program. These
restored boats from yesteryear have always been popular with hydroplane
racing enthusiasts, young and old alike. Ten vintage boats are scheduled
to run in fly-bys in between the Unlimited heats on Saturday
Here are some other highlights to expect at the 2012 Regatta Festival:
Eleven contestants will vie for the Miss Madison Regatta
Scholarship Pageant crown on Monday, July 2, at the Madison Consolidated
High School Auditorium. They are Brooke Logan Bell, 20, of Madison;
Kelsey Jo Shaw, 19, of Madison; Macy Jo Taylor, 19 of Madison; Elizabeth
Hayley Franklin, 22, of Carrollton, Ky.; Christin Michelle Stoops, 21,
of Carrollton, Ky.; Mary Carrington Truax, 20, of Madison; Taylor Alexis
Leek, 18, of Madison; Stacey Lynn Corry, 21, of Bedford, Ky.; Caroline
Nicole Strange, 18, of Madison; Kelsey Marie Bladen, 19, of Lexington,
Ind.; and Erica Lee Moore, 21, of Pleasureville, Ky. The event is organized
by the Xi Beta Upsilon Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority. Tickets are
$8 and available at the door.
A full slate of music is planned for Wednesday through Saturday
nights at the riverfront. Admission is a Regatta wristband or a $5 vintage
Regatta badge. This years lineup will feature hometown favorite
Rusty Bladen, who is returning to the Regatta stage after a seven-year
absence. He will also debut some new songs and a new band, the Mighty
River Kings. (See full music schedule on Page X)
The annual Regatta Parade is a Fourth of July tradition
in Madison and will again step off at 6:15 p.m. Friday, July 6, on Main
Street, beginning at Jefferson Street and heading west to Cragmont Street.
This years grand marshal will be Brig. Gen. Gene Spicer, a native
of Dupont, Ind. Spicer now lives near Commiskey and last served as deputy
commander of the Indiana Guard Reserves Task Force-South from
July 1996 to Sept. 2004. Parade chair Merle Horton announced Spicer
as the grand marshal to fit a theme of honoring the military.
The 34th annual Madison Courier Firecracker 10K Run & Walk
takes off at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 7, from the Madison Consolidated
High School parking lot. This years honorary starter will be MCHS
girls varsity basketball coach Gene Humes. He coached the Lady Cubs
to a sectional championship last March in his inaugural season with
the team. The walk begins at 8 a.m. with the race starting at 8:30 a.m.
and ending at Lytle Park downtown. A shuttle bus will transport participants
back to the hilltop. Last years race attracted more than 500 runners
Saturday nights fireworks show will begin just after dark,
approximately 10 p.m., from a barge in the middle of the Ohio River.
Admission to the riverfront that night is free. This years fireworks
show is being jointly sponsored by the American Legion Post 9 and Morgan
& Nay Funeral Centre.
Don Ward is the editor, publisher and owner
of RoundAbout. Call him at (812) 273-2259 or email: info@RoundAbout.bz.
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