Pulling the Plug
Pandemic forces cancellation
of 70th Madison Regatta
No Gold Cup race, Roostertail Music Festival for 2020.
(May 2020) – The Madison Regatta, known as one of Indiana’s treasured annual events, was finally added to the list of sports events affected by the coronavirus. With only two and a half months until race time and with the recent cancellation of the Guntersville Lake Hydrofest in Alabama, State of Indiana executive orders, and CDC guidance on postponing mass gatherings, the pressure to make a decision from race teams, vendors and fans waived heavily upon the Madison Regatta Board of Directors, officials said.
At the April 15 board meeting, Regatta President Matt True and the board voted to cancel the Madison Regatta Gold Cup and Roostertail Music Festival for 2020. This would have been the third year for the Music Festival, which has grown in popularity and size as an ancillary event to the Unlimited hydroplane races. Next year’s Madison Regatta is scheduled for July 1-4.
“After consideration of other potential dates in 2020, it was determined that our best course of action would be to postpone,” True said in a press release. “The decision was not made lightly.”
True, who also serves on the Indiana State Festival Association board and representative for the southeastern region of Indiana, said he has participated in many meetings, phone calls, and research – not just about Regatta but many other event.
“Event organizers are all being faced with the same questions and unknowns as we are,” he said. “Being on the ISFA has allowed me to expand my knowledge of other events around the state and what they are facing. Making this announcement to postpone the 70th anniversary of the Regatta raises feelings of disappointment and frustration, but it’s all about safety first. We truly have to put our energy into 2021 planning. We have the best team to do so.”
Race and music fans who purchased 2020 tickets can expect an email indicating ticket transfer over to the 2021 event dates, he said. More information will be available in coming weeks. Chairpersons for RVs, tents, vendors, and the like will be reaching out to discuss 2021.
“The Board of Directors would like to thank all of the Madison Regatta and Roostertail stakeholders, partners, sponsors, vendors, race teams, VisitMadison Inc. as well as the City of Madison for their support during this difficult time,” True said in the release.
The Madison Regatta features Unlimited hydro-planes racing on the Ohio River, along with the Grand Prix America race boats putting on a show. The Unlimiteds are presented by the H1 Unlimited racing series, which is sanctioned by the American Power Boat Association.
Dean Rojas, president of Grand Prix America, added, “On behalf of Grand Prix America Hydroplane series, we offer our support to the Madison Regatta on the difficult decision to postpone the Madison event. Grand Prix America has continually enjoyed visiting Madison on the banks of the Ohio River for many years. We look forward to supporting the Madison Regatta for years to come and bring our loud Grand Prix boats to entertain fans, sponsors and the entire community.”
Miss Madison boat driver Jimmy Shane also weighed in, saying, “I am very saddened to hear of the cancellation of the 2020 Madison Gold Cup Regatta. In these uncertain times it is disappointing to hear the news but very understandable with our current environment. There are larger issues at stake around us, and the safety of our loved ones is the most important. I can assure you that the Miss Madison racing team is looking forward to whatever the future may hold and we are set to continue our goals as an elite Motorsports team. Madison, Indiana, is an important part to our success, and we want to keep it that way by keeping everyone safe. I would like to personally thank the entire Madison Regatta staff for all their efforts in this trying time and we look forward to supporting Regatta in defense of our Gold Cup championship at a later time. Thank you. Better times are ahead for all of us.’
Madison Mayor Bob Courtney added, “The exact timing of when we will come out of this public health emergency is unknown, so in following prior actions we have taken regarding festivals and events, it is prudent for the Madison Regatta Committee to take this step at this time. Planning an event as significant as the Madison Regatta involves substantial investment and resources. There is no doubt that the long tradition of the Madison Regatta will continue into the future.”
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