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Drivers, fans still had a good time
RISING RIVER TOO MUCH TO OVERCOME
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Monday, July 08, 2013 11:00 AM
A crane from the Madison-Milton Bridge project construction site in Milton points toward the fireworks as they burst from a barge on the Ohio River on Saturday. Though many of the festivities at this year’s Madison Regatta were hampered by rain and high river levels, the fireworks spectacular went off with out a hitch. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie)
Stunt pilot Brett Hunter excited the crowd with acrobatic maneuvers that came only a few feet from the water. (Staff photo by Mark Campbell)
While rain and river conditions kept hydroplanes off the water this weekend, it didn't keep drivers and crew members from enjoying Regatta weekend.
After H1 canceled Saturday's races, it was announced that the hydroplane boats would be on display during the day along Vaughn Drive and there was also a chance for fans to get autographs from the drivers.
Unlimited hydroplane driver Mike Webster used some of the weather-related downtime to run the Madison Courier 10K walk/run Saturday morning.
"I ran that this morning. Just trying to wait out the river," Webster said.
"It was awesome. It was a really good time. We had a really good view of the river."
The driver of the U-22 Miss Broadway Tavern boat also took the time to meet fans and spend time with his family.
Steve David, driver of the Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison, spent most of Saturday talking with fans and showing them his hydroplane.
"We're having a ball," he said about talking with his fans.
While David said he still wanted to be on the water, it was good to be able to spend time with fans.
"Today is all about the fans."
Mike Wooten came to the Regatta, despite the rain.
Wooten - a Milton resident - said he's been a fan of hydroplane racing for years.
Bringing his family has become something of a tradition, he said.
While disappointed he didn't get to see any racing on the Ohio River this weekend, he understood the need for caution.
"The driver's safety is much more important," he said.
"We're still taking in as much as we can. There's still plenty of good food to eat. We're not going to let a little rain keep us down."
Wooten said he'd spoken to several of the hydroplane drivers during the day.
Kip Brown, driver of the Spirit of Qatar boat, enjoyed some of the food trucks that had set up shop along Vaughn Drive.
Crew member Jeff Minar said the day turned out to be "a nice little boat show."
Still, Brown said the weekend was frustrating.
"It's rough for a team like ours," he said.
Brown and his crew chief, Dave Brown, said they could have their boat in the water and ready to race within 30 minutes after receiving the OK.
He said you have to make the best of the down time, because it's the one thing they can't prepare for.
"You prep for the race, you prep for rough waters and wind. There are provisions that we can deal with when it comes to those things," he said.
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