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Warsaw Thunder

Champ Boat racing
coming to Warsaw, Ky., this summer

New festival will be staged on the town's riverfront

By Don Ward
Editor

(March 2007) – The city of Warsaw, Ky., will be buzzing with the sounds of race boats this summer when it plays host to the Champ Boat Grand Prix Series on Aug. 17-19 on the Ohio River. The event, dubbed Warsaw Thunder, will be broadcast live on the SPEED Channel.

Champ Boats

Photo provided

Champ Boats are powered by
inboard motors that run 140 mph.

Wayne Rassman announced the event at the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce’s monthly membership meeting, held Feb. 12 at Gen. Butler State Resort Park. He was accompanied by Gallatin County tourism president and chamber vice president Jane Searcy.
“This is one of the biggest things that Gallatin County has put on, and definitely the biggest for the city of Warsaw,” said Rassman, who serves on both the city’s chamber and tourism boards. “We hope to make it a three-year commitment for this event. The impact should be felt throughout the region, including Carrollton, because we will need lots of hotel rooms for all the people.”
Searcy added: “This is a $150,000 event to put on, and we expect a big return on that investment.”
So far, the group has a commitment from three local sponsors: Belterra Casino Resort & Spa, Smuggler’s Cove-Sunset Grill (formerly Dan’s Marina), and Gallatin County Tourism.
Since the county only has one chain hotel – Sparta’s Ramada Inn – and two smaller motels, it lacks the number of hotel rooms it will need to support the event.
Tourism officials will be handling the organization of the event and sales of admission tickets, camp sites, sponsorships and VIP corporate tent tickets. Packages will begin at $1,500 and up, Rassman said.
Champ Boats run in excess speeds of 130 mph to 140 mph. They look similar to small hydroplane race boats but have inboard motors in them. The series previously stopped in Newport, Ky., but the series owners went seraching for a new location, and Warsaw jumped at the chance, Rassman said. The nearest site of any other Champ Boat race is Bay City, Mich., he said. Warsaw Thunder will be the sixth of nine stops on the circuit in 2007. The series kicks off May 19-20 in Augusta, Ga.
Time trials and races will be held in two classes on both Saturday and Sunday on a 1 1/4-mile course. There will also be live bands playing Friday and Saturday nights in Warsaw, plus race team parties and a midway of corporate tents.
Due to the small area of river frontage in Warsaw, spectators will be bussed in from remote parking sites, Rassman said.

• For more information about the event, call 1-888-292-4341 or email: info@warsawthunder.com. To learn more about the racing series, visit the website: www.champboat.com.

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