Regatta updates

American Legion Post 9
to sponsor 2003 Regatta fireworks show

By Don Ward

(May 2003) MADISON, Ind. – For the third consecutive year, the American Legion Post 9 of Madison will sponsor the fireworks show during festival week at the Budweiser Madison Regatta supported by Belterra Casino Resort unlimited hydroplane races. This year's show will take place around 9 p.m. (EST-slow time) Saturday, July 5, from a barge on the Ohio River.

Regatta fireworks

From Left: Crystal McHargue, Post 9
Cmdr. Bill Bruther, Ann Geyman,
Mike Adams and Madison
Mayor Al Huntington.

This family oriented event annually draws one of the largest crowds of local residents and tourists alike and one of the main reasons the Legion has sponsored the event, according to Post 9 Cmdr. Bill Bruther. He made the announcement at an April 10 press conference, along with Legion trustees Arthur Perkinson, Bob Bladen and Dan Kidwell.
"We believe the city of Madison and Jefferson County as well as the surrounding area will be served well and get more out of the fireworks than ever before" considering recent military events in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past year, Bruther said. "It's a celebration of our freedom and a great American bpasttime to cherish and not forget, and will be especially significant with the latest activities in Irag," he said.
Madison Regatta president Ann Geyman said "everyone looks forward to the fireworks show and there cannot be a better fit than the American Legion (as a sponsor). They remind us of the men and women who are now fighting overseas to safeguard our freedom at home."
The free event is Madison's way of celebrating the Fourth of July holiday and a special time for families, said Madison Mayor Al Huntington.
"The fireworks show is one of our most popular family events of the year, and it is especially significant this year for patriotism as we show our support for the troops overseas," Huntington said. "As mayor, I just want to say how much I appreciate the American Legion stepping up and sponsoring this event for the third straight year."
The Legion pays nearly $20,000 to sponsor the event, Bruther said. The half-hour show is staged by the Zambelli family, who launch the rockets from a barge in the middle of the river just after dark.
This year's Madison Regatta festival will run from June 28 to July 6, with the race events occurring on the July 5-6 weekend. These include Hydro-Prop’s Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series presented by BoatShopper, and the Bob Snelling Vintage Memorial Event with 30 vintage hydroplanes and a thrilling air show. There are many other events leading up to race weekend. These events include a Regatta queen pageant and music festival, plus the Vaughn Drive midway. For more information or to order wristbands, call (812) 265-5000 or visit: www.madisonregatta.com.

Entrants sought for 2003 Regatta pageant

MADISON, Ind. - The Madison Regatta Scholarship Pageant seeks entries for its 2003 event, scheduled for Monday, June 30, at the Ohio Theater in downtown Madison.
The pageant is sponsored each year by Xi Beta Upsilon chapter of Beta Sigma Phi sorority. It is for girls between the ages of 18 and 26. The pageant will be limited to the first 12 entrants received by the deadline of June 7.
The competition is not limited to residents of Madison. Anyone in the surrounding counties or states may enter. The winner will receive a $500 scholarship, plus various other awards. She should be available to represent the community during the Regatta festival week and weekend. The first runner-up will receive a $100 scholarship; the second runner-up will receive a $50 scholarship.
To obtain an application, contact Linda Ralston at (812) 866-2416 or email: lralston@seidata.com.

Hydroplane racing legend Little dies at 77

LAKELAND, Fla. (April 27, 2003) – One of the most recognizable faces in motorsports history, Bernie Little, owner of the Miss Budweiser unlimited hydroplane team passed away April 25 in Lakeland, Fla., as a result of complications related to pneumonia. He was 77.
Little is survived by his wife, Jane; two sons, Bernie Little Jr. and Joe Little; a daughter, Becky Ham; a sister, Catherine Moore; and four grandchildren.
Memorial Services were held April 29 at First United Methodist Church in Lakeland, Fla.
Little was a colorful, passionate and dedicated racer of boats. His record is unsurpassed with 134 race victories, 22 World Championships and 14 APBA Gold Cups. Little had been the most successful team owner in the history of unlimited hydroplane racing.
Little's teams were sponsored by Anheuser-Busch for more than 40 years, representing one of the most successful owner-sponsor relationships in the high-powered world of motorsports.
A force in hydroplane racing since 1963, Little completed 40 consecutive seasons of competition after entering 354 Unlimited hydroplane races. Little's Miss Budweiser finished in the top three a total of 230 times. At the conclusion of the 2002 season, the Miss Budweiser team was presented with the first Bernie Little World High Points Championship Trophy, which was renamed in 2001 in Little's honor.
A native of McComb, Ohio, Little was a resident of Lakeland, Fla. As a youth growing up in the Depression era of the 1930s, he operated a morning and evening newspaper route and found time to polish cars, shovel snow and caddie at the golf course on the weekends.
After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Little and his wife settled in Florida and began building a dynasty in aircraft and automobile sales. He opened an automobile dealership, and he performed as a stunt pilot with the "All-Miami Air Show."
Later, Little started leasing airports and eventually selling and leasing airplanes. It was during this time that Little entered Unlimited hydroplane racing with his first boat, Tempo.
In 1972, Little purchased his first Anheuser-Busch distributorship in Lakeland. He later purchased two additional distributorships and turned all three into major successes.

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