BURLEY -- The Idaho Regatta is back.
After a one-year hiatus due to high water on the Snake River, the 37-year-old tradition of the nation’s fastest flatbottom circle boat racing returns to Burley.
“A lot of the racers missed it, and they’re excited to be coming back,” said Mark Moyle, Idaho Regatta committee chairman. “The racers come to Burley because they love the atmosphere here. The community really opens their arms to the racers. I think our hospitality is what makes Burley special on the race circuit.”
About 60 boats will race across 12 classes this weekend, bringing in an expected 5,000 spectators. Race teams will travel in from East (Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey) to West (Idaho, Utah, Arizona, California, Washington) and converge on Burley for a winner-take-all weekend as this year’s Regatta plays host to the American Powerboat Association Flatbottom National Championships.
While the event attracts thousands of out-of-towners, Moyle hopes locals can enjoy the races just the same.
“It’s a world-class sporting event and you don’t have to drive to Salt Lake or Boise or Las Vegas. It’s right here in your backyard. Gas prices the way they are, its advantageous to take advantage of local events,” said Moyle. “The best drivers in the country are here putting on a show. Those guys spend tens of thousands of dollars and put their life on the line to go out and race. It’s really worth seeing.”
Festivities begin with the Show and Shine, 6 p.m. today at Morey’s Steakhouse in Burley, where the public can meet the drivers and get an up-close look at the boats.
Friday is Fan Appreciation Day with $5 tickets. Testing begins at noon at Burley Golf Course Marina, followed by heat racing at 5 p.m. The evening will conclude with a special Grand Prix, where two boats from each of the Super Stock, Pro Stock and K-Boat classes will duel it out in a handicapped race, separated by five-second head starts.
Saturday and Sunday racing begins at noon.
The Idaho Regatta will wrap up 7:30 p.m. Sunday with the awards ceremony at Morey’s. It’s open to the public with a $10 all-you-can-eat barbeque buffet. National champions will be crowned, and the coveted prize of the Regatta - the Moyle Mink and Faulkner Memorial Trophy - will be awarded to the driver who comes closest to his or her class record.
2012 Idaho Regatta
At Burley Golf Course Marina
Tickets: Friday $5. Saturday-Sunday $25 per day. Weekend pass $45. Kids 12-under free.
Show and Shine at Morey’s Steakhouse, 219 E. 3rd N., Burley, 6 p.m.
Weather: 88:, sunny, wind SW 10 mph
Testing, noon. Heat racing, 5 p.m. Flatbottom Grand Prix, 6 p.m.
Weather: 93:, sunny, wind SW 9 mph
Racing starts at noon.
Weather: 89:, mostly sunny, wind SW 15 mph
Racing starts at noon.
Awards: Morey’s Steakhouse, 7:30 p.m. Open to public, all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet $10.
If You Go: Bring lawn chairs, sunscreen, hats, umbrellas and coolers. No glass containers allowed. Concessions available.