South Georgia Showdown: Did you bring enough?

Published 2:49 pm Tuesday, August 11, 2009

For three years now, Andy Driver of Lutz, Fla., has come to the sandbar under the powerlines on the Flint River to see if his STV with a 300-horsepower Mercury drag motor was enough.

Driver comes not for prize money or to add points in the circuit he runs in—the Outboard Drag Boat Association (ODBA).

He comes for the fun and the bragging rights.

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The fourth annual South Georgia Showdown on Saturday sponsored by the Flint River Racers has no rules, no entry fees and no prize money—just bragging rights.

And as Driver said Saturday: “Run what you brought and hope you brought enough.”

There were more than 75 race boats and at least 200 spectator boats loaded with people who watched to see what each boat enthusiasts brought and if they brought enough. Some of the boats raced at speeds more than 100 mph.

Ed Trowbridge from Big Pine Key, Fla., drove more than 12 hours to race his Laser boat with a modified 2.5 Mercury motor Saturday. This is his second year here after his friend, Driver, told him about it.

“It’s one of the best events in the Southeast to come to,” Trowbridge said. “It’s a nice setup and everybody’s accommodating.”

Trowbridge’s friend, another Big Pine Key resident, Randy Dell, said he likes racing his boat in fresh water instead of salt water.

“It’s the kind of racing we like to do—river racing.” said Dell, who liked the fact that spectators are on a sandbar and on boats, and not in bleachers. “It’s a good time.”

Gary Johnson, the main organizer of the event who took it over from Bobby Harrell this year, said on a scale from one to 10, Saturday’s events turned out to be a 10.

“It’s good racing and no accidents,” Johnson said.

The shoe-string, non-profit organization must have liability insurance to host the event and permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Organizers are also required to have a dive team from the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office on standby at the venue as well as an ambulance and other rescue and law enforcement personnel.

The Flint River Racers recoup their money from the sale of T-shirts with various sponsors on the back of the shirts.

Volunteers set up the race course.

Johnson said some spectators spent the night on the sandbar to ensure a good spot for watching the races. Boats were starting to anchor down at the sandbar shortly after daybreak.

“They’re just soaking in the Flint River and watching some good boat racing,” Johnson said.