Power boats return to Lake End Park for first time since ‘08
By: SCOTT JOINER
The Morgan City Powerboat Association will hold the American Power Boat Association eastern regionals on Saturday and Sunday at Lake End Park with races starting at 10 a.m. both days.
It’s been three years since the MCPA held races and the revamped groups expect 40 to 50 boats for the event.
The organization has been around for 49 years and started out on the Atchafalaya River.
“We were incorporated in 1962 and we’ll have our 50th anniversary next year,” Commodore Marie Siracusa said. “It’s been going on since 1939 to be quite honest. It started out on the Atchafalaya. Then it was switched over later to Lake Palourde in 1958.”
Tickets are available prior to the event for $8 at Flower Fashions, Sports Cycle and Marine, Sun Center, Jazzy Coffee and the Chamber of Commerce, and tickets the day of the race will be $10 at the gate. Children under 12 get in free.
The Crappell Brothers will play Saturday night from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and there will be food vendors and activities for children also available.
“We have some good food, lots of good food,” Siracusa said. “We’ll have lots of good vendors out there. The Morgan City Powerboat Association will be selling cold beer, Cokes and water. We’re asking people not to bring their ice chests in.”
This weekend’s race is one of the last of the season, so competition is expected to be fierce as driver’s aim for a spot at the top of the standings.
“This is about the end of the season and a lot of them are going to be competing for points,” Siracusa said. “If they’re going after the national championship, they need all the points they can get.”
Three local boats will be competing with Randy English, Thad Miller and Doug Banyon of Lafayette heading to town for the races.
The course consists of four laps, and to make a heat, four boats are required.
“It’s nothing like the drag races,” Siracusa said. “It’s a 1¼-mile course with four laps to make five miles.”
There will be 13 classes offered, but Siracusa said she doesn’t expect to have enough boats to run all 13.
“The boat count across the country has been kind of low,” Siracusa said. “It’s just the economy across the country. Part of it was due to the flooding up north. They’ve had to cancel some of the races, but I feel pretty fortunate — it looks like we’re going to have good weather.”
In the past, the competition has been cancelled due to inclement weather. The conditions have to be ideal for the boats to travel at high speeds safely. Siracusa said it’s not a matter of the strength of the wind, but the amount of chop on the water.
“If there are too many whitecaps, that’s not a good thing,” Siracusa said.
The speed of the boats varies by class, but they get up to the same speeds as automobiles — even faster in some cases.
“Some of these boats will go up to 100 or 125 miles per hour,” Siracusa said. “The Grand Nationals would go that fast, but on a lower level which is the most popular in this area, would be the five liter and I would say about 75 to 80 miles per hour.”
Siracusa said the event is good for the community and its rich history is something the area can be proud to host.
“It is very important,” Siracusa said. “It’s a great economic boost for the weekend. We have people coming in from as far as Seattle, and they’re spending money when they do it. The hotels have a lot of bookings for this weekend. The restaurants, the hotels — I think they will do very well this weekend.”