Madison Regatta needed a good year in a bad way, and it got one - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Madison Regatta needed a good year in a bad way, and it got one

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MADISON, Ind. (WDRB) -- Sunday afternoon, spectators watched from the shore of the Ohio River as hydroplanes zoomed past at up to 200 miles per hour. The weather was perfect, said organizers, and turnout was impressive-- all that was missing was a win from the community-owned hydroplane.

Despite a 4th place finish by the Oh Boy! Oberto Miss Madison in Sunday's governor's cup, organizers are calling the 64th Madison Regatta a hit.

The 2014 hydroplane race was in need of a good year, after several upsets in years prior.

"The last couple of years have been a little rough, but this year, we've done okay," said Madison Regatta President Tim Torrance.

In 2013, the competition was canceled altogether due to high water levels. Organizers say it was the first cancellation in event history.

The year before that, temperatures reached triple digits. It was so hot, many fans didn't show up for the event.

This year, the events title sponsor, Lucas Oil, announced they are not renewing. It is something that Mayor Damon Welch calls disappointing, but he believes it won't ruin the event.

"Everybody is trying to get money from these big companies, and they have to pick and choose," said Welch. "The economy hasn't been so great. I don't know the whole story about it but I appreciate what they've done in the past, and we just move on."

And the city must move on, with the Regatta being the biggest day of the year for Madison businesses.

"It exposes us for our other events, and all the other things Madison has to offer," said long-time resident Bob Courtney.  "It helps the tourism, the restaurants, the hotels."

Madison is the smallest host on the international hydroplane circuit, with other host cities including Detroit, Seattle and San Diego. Mayor Welch called it "amazing" that a city of its size is so highly recognized for their boat racing culture.

"It has put Madison on the map," said Welch. "Almost everywhere I've traveled people say, 'Madison, that's where they have the regatta.'"

J. Michael Kelly in the Graham Trucking U-1 hydroplane took first place in the Governor's Cup. Kelly--a resident of Washington state-- said it was his first time winning the Governor's Cup.

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