Flint River races returning to Boat Basin, Sept. 14-15

Published 8:47 am Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Photo by Jessica Cannon Photography

Photo by Jessica Cannon Photography

The Second Annual Flint River Showdown Drag Boat Races will be held September 14 and 15 at the Earle May Boat Basin in Bainbridge.

The event, sponsored by the Decatur County Firefighters Association, is a fundraiser to purchase equipment for all of the county’s volunteer fire departments. The races will take place on the river behind the Chamber of Commerce Building and along Hatcher Road.

Racers, mostly in drag boats but some in ski boats, will be competing in several different categories. This year, both days’ races will be held on a fast 800-foot track. At least 40-50 boats are expected to compete. So far, there has never been a safety issue, but Sheriff’s deputies and numerous volunteer firefighters will be on hand for both boaters’ and spectators’ safety.

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Last year, there were racers from all over the Southeast, including from Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and Louisiana, Kay said. The races are sanctioned by the Outboard Drag Boat Association; its website is odbaracing.com

“Last year’s races were a lot of fun to watch and were a big hit with the crowd,” Kay said. “This year, we are expecting more racers to come and even more excitement with the expanded racing categories.”

Photo by Jessica Cannon Photography

Photo by Jessica Cannon Photography

Gates open at 8 a.m. and the races start at noon each day but entertainment and other activities are planned before and during the event. There will be bleachers, however, spectators are encouraged to bring their own lawn chair, blankets and day tents to watch the action from.

“Boaters should note that the megaramps in the Boat Basin will be closed to the public on both days, to accommodate the races,” Kay said. “We will be allowing river traffic to idle through the race course in between heats.”

There will also be food, concessions, kids’ activities and other vendors out in the Boat Basin. On Saturday night, Caliber, a new band featuring several local music veterans, will perform a free concert. Kay said there will be plenty of parking available and more than 100 volunteer firefighters and their families show up each year to make each event a smooth success.

Daily admission is free for children aged 0-5 years, $5 for children aged 6-12 years and $8 for anyone older than 12.

The Decatur County Firefighters Association is comprised of all of the county’s volunteer firefighters, as well as paid Fire and Rescue firefighters. According to Kay, the association is a non-profit, 501 (c)3 organization, which means donations to it are tax-deductible.

“We’re still interested in working with any business that would like to sponsor the races and support our local firefighters,” Kay said.

Kay, who is the president of the Decatur County Firefighters’ Association, can be reached at (229) 220-1546.