2021 Regatta Notes

Vintage hydros to be displayed
at the 2021 Madison Regatta

Miss U.S. IV, Blue Chip to join hydros in exhibit

The 2021 Madison Regatta Unlimited hydroplane races and APBA Gold Cup on July 2-4 will return to racing under the Milton-Madison Bridge to the delight of race fans. The course was shortened a few years ago when construction began on the new bridge spanning over the Ohio River.
At the June 2 Madison Regatta Committee meeting – the first of 2021 – it was announced that the race course has been restored to its former 2½-mile oval, with tight turns and long straightaways. Previously, the second turn came before the bridge.
The number of Unlimited hydroplanes is expected to be seven or possibly eight boats, based on the fleet that is racing in Guntersville, Ala., a week before the Regatta. The HomeStreet Miss Madison race team is not bringing its new boat to the East Coast but will instead race the 2007 hull, with driving duties shared by Jeff Bernard in Guntersville, Ala., and Jimmy Shane in Madison for the Gold Cup race.

Blue Chip, Miss U.S. IV

Photo courtesy of Ron Erickson

U-80 Blue Chip with Mitch Evans in the seat and Mark Weber aboard the U-36 Miss U.S. IV are pictured in this photo. The two vintage boats will be on display at the Madison Regatta.

Meantime, Regatta officials said they expect up to 10 Grand Prix America hydroplane race boats to participate in this year’s event. The GPA Hydroplane Racing Series is the premier supercharged automotive-powered race boat racing series in North America. Skimming across the top of the water at top speeds upwards of 160 mph by 1,600 horsepower supercharged engines.
Regatta officials had initially planned to set up the GPA course at 1 2/3 miles in length, but GPA race officials requested that the course be reduced to 1 ¼ miles.

Regatta Week Notes

• The Regatta Gala tickets are on sale for the fundraising dinner set for 6 p.m. Thursday, July 1, at The Livery Stable. The Gala will celebrate the 71st running of the Madison Regatta, the 60th year of the Miss Madison race team and the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Gold Cup win in Madison by the late Jim McCormick. The event begins with a meet and greet at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. followed by speakers to include former Miss Madison drivers Buddy Byers, Ron Snyder and current driver Jimmy Shane. The evening will feature other activities to honor the hometown team and an auction at 10 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person or $60 for couples. Attendees will receive a commemorative Regatta pin. Purchase tickets online at www.MadisonRegatta.com or call Nate Davis at (812) 701-2229.

• The Roostertail Music Festival and Madison Music Movement (M3) aren’t the only ones providing live music during Regatta weekend. M3 leader Todd Boone confirmed that the organization will present live music beginning at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 1, at Madison Bicentennial Park. The lineup was not available at press time. M3 will also present live music at Fireman’s Park at the foot of Jefferson Street and Vaughn Drive. Concerts times are set for 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The idea is to provide live music in between racing. Boone said live music also will be provided by the group at the Regatta VIP Tent.

• In addition to the Roostertail Music Festival and the M3 free concerts throughout the weekend, Mad Paddle Brewstillery is presenting a “Let Freedom Ring Celebration” at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 3. The live music show in the Truss Room at 301 West St. will feature Madison’s own Rusty Bladen and his band, which includes Corrina Wills, Mary Miller, Michael Fortunato, Tyler Brindel and Jackson Bladen. The show will also feature special guest Jordan Tyler. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Admission is only $5 with a Regatta wristband. For information call (812) 274-0595.

• On Wednesday, June 30, the movie "Madison" will be featured at the Mayor’s Movie in the Park at dusk at Bicentennial Park. The event is free. The National Boat Racing Heritage Center will have the race boat that appeared in the movie as Atlas Van Lines on display before the movie. Visitors will be able to see a bit of racing history and enjoy the movie.

• During the Regatta weekend, the National Boat Racing Heritage Center and 5-to-the-5 Vintage Hydros club, based in Madison, will display two vintage hydroplane race boats just behind the Regatta office on Vaughn Drive. The two vintage boats are the U-36 Miss U.S. IV and the U-80 Blue Chip. The National Boat Racing Heritage Center is establishing a museum in Madison for exhibiting vintage race boats and preserving the history of boat racing. This museum will educate the public about boat racing from the early days of steamboat races up to the present time. The museum seeks donations of historic race artifacts, race boat driver stories, vintage photos and film of boat races, and technical materials on race boat design and construction. The museum will preserve, display, and archive the historic boat race memorabilia that is now rotting away in attics, shops and garages across the United States. The museum will be curated and staffed by a team of volunteers and will be funded through donations and sponsorships. The organization plays host to an annual vintage race boat speed exhibition every September called Vintage Thunder. This two-day free public event brings approximately 20 to 30 vintage race boats from across the country to the Ohio River in Madison.

• During the June 9 Regatta Committee general meeting, it was announced that Morgan Foods is sponsoring the Gold Cup Final Heat on July 4. Owner John Morgan of Madison has been a longtime supporter of the Regatta.

• Regatta wristbands are available for purchase at several locations throughout Madison, including the Regatta office on Vaughn Drive and the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center. Other businesses selling wristbands include German American Bank, The Bottle Shop, Grote Industries, American Legion, IKE power plant, Super ATV and Madison Precision.

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