Drag boat racers return to Morgan City
By GEOFFREY STOUTE
MORGAN CITY, La. — After lobbying for it in recent years, St. Mary Parish has received the Deep South Racing Association’s ¼-Mile Outboard Drag Boat Racing World Championship.
To hear local race director Marvin Catrett speak about it, the championship, which will be held Friday through Sunday at Russo’s Landing in Morgan City, could be here to stay, too.
Catrett said that St. Mary Parish President Paul Naquin Jr. has been lobbying DSRA President Jed Angelle to hold the race in Morgan City because of the number of spectators the area draws to the races.
Angelle agreed to hold the finale of six races this weekend in Morgan City.
The world championship is part of the Evangeline Downs/Amelia Belle Casino Circuit. Other stops along the racing circuit this year included Catahoula, Gulfport, Miss., Mount Pleasant, Texas, and Butte La Rose.
High point champions were crowned at the last race in Butte La Rose. Two locals, Josh Broussard and Todd Catrett, both Marvin Catrett’s sons, were named point champions in their classifications this year. Broussard earned the most points in the Superstock Class and Todd Catrett in the Pro Stock.
Because they were high point champions in their class, both automatically advanced to Sunday’s finals in their class along with the other high point champions in each of the other six classifications.
Broussard estimated that 30 local racers would be participating in this weekend’s event.
Marvin Catrett said he expects racers from across the country and more than 100 boats in the eight classifications to participate.
“It’s going to take a long time to run each class,” he said.
Action will kick off Friday with qualifying in the 1,400 Pro Modified, the 1/8 mile Outlaws, Pro Gas and Unlimited classes.
On Saturday, qualifying will be held in the four remaining classes, Super Stock, Pro Stock, Lake Racer and Performance Bass & SKI.
Finals in all eight classifications will be held Sunday.
“We’re going to have perfect weather, and we’re going to have a big turnout of people,” Marvin Catrett predicted.
The finals will consist of the top seven qualifiers during heat qualifications in each class as well as the previously crowned High Points champions.
Each day, racing will be held from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Daily admission is $10 per person and $10 per ice chest.
Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be sold onsite.
Complimentary shuttle service from the parking area near the judge’s stand at Lake End Park to Russo’s Landing will be available from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
On Saturday, The Anytime Band will perform from 5 to 8:30 p.m. in the pit area.
Spectators can expect to see boats reaching racing speeds from 80 mph in stock classes to more than 120 mph in the Pro Gas, Unlimited and Outlaw classes.
While Naquin could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening, Morgan City Mayor Tim Matte said the event would be good for the economy of Morgan City and surrounding areas because people would be spending their money here as well as possibly they may discover that they like what they find here and want to return.
It is not uncommon for spectators to bring their house boats or smaller boats to the race course to watch the event so they can get closer to the action than on land.
Raising the level of prominence from one of the races on the circuit to a championship caliber event also helps draw more people to the area too, Matte said.
The race is the second that has been held in Morgan City in less than three months.
In July, the Morgan City Powerboat Association hosted the Atchafalaya Eastern Divisionals’ “Waves of Thunder” at Lake Palourde, located just across the levee from Russo’s Landing.
Proceeds from this weekend’s event will benefit the Morgan City Volunteer Fire Department.
This weekend’s races are presented by Amelia Belle Casino.