The all-volunteer Madison Regatta Inc. is expecting
a hugely successful 61st year of staging Madisons largest festival
and the popular H1 Unlimited Hydroplane boat racing series July 1-3 on
the Ohio River.
Fourth-year President Crystal McHargue says hard work and commitment by
the festival sponsors and the series commissioner, Sam Cole, has
produced one of the most action-packed programs in recent memory. Fans
will be treated to watching 12 Unlimited hydroplanes race on a much shorter
course, due to the Milton-Madison Bridge construction taking place this
The previously 2.5-mile course will now be only 1 2/3 mile long, which
will certainly challenge drivers to devise new strategies for mastering
the river and avoiding collisions.
The drivers have joked that they will be scratching the paint on
their boats because they will be racing so close, McHargue said.
The eastern-most turn of the new course will be in front of St. Michaels
Street. The western-most turn will be in front of Plum and Vine streets.
Meantime, the committee is bringing in the Powerboat P1 USA race boats
to entertain the crowd in between the Unlimiteds.
These boats are very exciting. They have open cockpits and, yes,
they do turn right, joked McHargue. We have always tried to
find something to keep the action going on the river at all times, and
these boats should help us do that this year. They are exciting to watch,
and for them, the rougher the water the better.
Entertainment-wise, this years H1 Unlimited series is being sponsored
by Air National Guard, which has also provided funding to produce a large
country music concert on a big stage Friday night, July 1. Country singers
Paul Overstreet and Jon Randall Stewart will take turns entertaining the
Regatta crowd at the riverfront. They will be preceded on stage by country
music singers Lee Roy Parnell and Presley Tucker, daughter of country
music legend Tanya Tucker. Parnell is a chart-topping singer with songs
like What Kind of Fool Do You Think I am? and Tender
Music will fill the air on other nights, with a full slate of bands organized
by Regatta entertainment committee chairman Brent Thacker.
by Joe Saba/RoundAbout
Boy! Oberto-Miss Madison
driver Steve David (bottom left)
signs autographs for hydroplane
racing fans during last years Madison
Regatta. David won the race for
the hometown fans and went on
to capture the series National
High Points title.
The band schedule features many local bands and is highlighted by Cincinnati-based
Walk the Moon at 8:30 p.m. Saturday night, just prior to the
free fireworks show sponsored by American Legion Post 9. Another band,
The Illusion, will take the stage after the fireworks, which are scheduled
to go off at dusk, about 9 p.m.
Im really excited about bringing in Walk the Moon, Thacker
said. This group has appeared on the Carson Daly Show and has been
headlining all over the country and is on a big rise to fame. We are lucky
that they are donating their time to come down from Ohio and perform for
In fact music is scheduled Thursday, Friday and Saturday, beginning with
the Battle of the Bands contest Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Then The
Wheel will perform from 10:30 p.m. to midnight. Music livens up
the stage from 5 p.m. to midnight Friday with the Texaco Country Showdown,
followed by a performance by J.D. Shelburne. Saturdays music slate
begins at 1 p.m. until midnight (See complete music schedule, Page X).
But theres more. A new Regatta Kickoff Party, featuring live bands
from 3 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday, June 26, has been added to the schedule.
The event is free and people will be allowed to come in with their own
coolers and chairs and enjoy the show, which will feature inflatables
for children and many giveaways, Thacker said.
Another new Regatta sponsor, Bulldog Marketing, will provide free giveaways
and a show boat display. They are very fan friendly, McHargue
said. And we are also proud to have Oberto sticking with us as a
Meantime, the committee will honor all past and the present Miss Madison
boat drivers as grand marshals in the Regatta Parade on Friday evening
down Main Street. Charlie Grooms of the Miss Madison Racing Team came
up with the idea to honor the living drivers. A special 50th Anniversary
Party for the race team is also planned at Grooms Boneyard Grill
restaurant on the Madison hilltop on Thursday evening, June 30. The free,
second annual Boneyard Bash will feature the drivers and entertainment
by the Bob Laffery Trio from 6-8 p.m. and The Rumors band from 8:45 p.m.
McHargue said admission wristband sales have been strong, while RV parking
spots are sold out. We only have about 50 VIP wristbands left (as
of June 22), so we are very happy with the response.
McHargue said with good weather and river conditions, all signs are positive
to providing a fun, action-packed festival for the fans. We have
worked hard to give the fans a great Regatta this year, she said.
Don Ward is the editor, publisher and owner of RoundAbout.
Call him at (812) 273-2259 or email him at: info@RoundAbout.bz.