LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The battle is on for the 2017 Great Steamboat Race. The annual race pits the Belle of Louisville against the Belle of Cincinnati on Wednesday, May 3, on the Ohio River.
The crews of these two Ohio River vessles even had a tasting competition with Four Roses Bourbon to determine which single-barrel bourbons would be served aboard each vessel during the race.
The Four Roses barrel coded HW 48-4J was selected as the bourbon to represent the Belle of Louisville and the Four Roses barrel coded HW 48-4K was selected to represent the Belle of Cincinnati. Riders on each boat will vote for the winning bourbon. The winner receive a mini bourbon barrel trophy and bragging rights for a year. Great Steamboat Race private selection bottles will be available exclusively for sale at your local Louisville Kroger Wine and Spirits Shop in late April.
The task and scoring system that was implemented eight years ago to determine the winner of the Great Steamboat Race will return again this year. Instead of the event winner being determined by the first boat to cross the finish line at the Clark Memorial Bridge, the winner will be the vessel which accumulates the most points from performing a series of nine tasks assigned to each competitor throughout the day and during the race. The task competition starts at 2 p.m. race day at the 4th Street Wharf.
Task No. 1: Knot Tying Contest (10 points for 1st, 5 points for 2nd)
Task No. 2: Nautical Flag Word Puzzle (10 and 5 points)
Task No. 3: Handy Line Toss (10 and 5 points)
Task No. 4: Monkey fist Toss (10 and 5 points)
Task No. 5: Paddle Wheel Assembly (10 and 5 points)
Task No. 6: Calliope Competition (10 and 5 points)
Task No. 7: Buoy Flag Retrieval (25 points for successful retrieval, 0 points for failure)
Task No. 8: VIP Retrieval (25 points for successful retrieval, 0 points for failure)
Task No. 9: Four Roses Bourbon Barrel Retrieval (25 points for successful retrieval, 0 points for failure)
Task No. 10: Finish Line Order (29 points for 1st vessel under the bridge, 15 points for 2nd vessel)
The total potential points earned are 164. The vessel with the most points as determined by the judges will be declared the winner. Failure to perform a task will result in a "no score," plus a 35-point penalty. The majority decision of the judges will be final. The winner will be presented with a set of 12-point Silver Antlers at the post-race ceremony.
Boarding for the Great Steamboat Race will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., with the boats departing the shore at 5:45 for a 6 p.m. start. Each boat will be assigned two judges, in addition to an overall event judge from the Derby Festival. The Awards Ceremony will take place immediately following the race at the Chow Wagon in Kroger's Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront.
Limited Belle of Cincinnati tickets are still available: $60 Cruise Only; $95 Dinner, Four Roses Bourbon Tasting, and Cruise. For Belle of Cincinnati tickets call 800-261-8586 or visit BBRiverboats.com.
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