Atchafalaya Eastern Divisionals set for this weekend
By GEOFF STOUTE
MORGAN CITY — Racers will hit Lake Palourde this weekend as the area welcomes the 2013 Atchafalaya Eastern Divisionals Saturday and Sunday.
Morgan City Powerboat commodore Marie Siracusa said last week that inboard boats from across the nation will come to Morgan City to compete.
Siracusa said she expected about 40 boats and racers at the event, which is being held in the summer time for the second year in a row.
In 2012, the Atchafalaya Eastern Divisionals went on smoothly after a change was made to hold the races in the summer rather than October, like they were held in 2009 and 2011. In both 2009 and 2011, the races had to be cancelled because of unfavorable weather conditions.
“We did good last year with this time of the year, and I think we’re going to do pretty good this year,” Siracusa said. “I just know we’re going to be able to run and we’re not going to have to forfeit anything.”
Siracusa said she expected at least 10 classes of boats to race at the event, another stop along the racing circuit for these competitors.
The most local racer competing in this weekend’s event will be Randy English of Broussard.
While last year the group was successful with outboards, Siracusa is confident that if inboards can run successfully on the waters this weekend, Morgan City can erase the memories of being a place where a successful race cannot be held and return to the racing circuit, hopefully on an annual basis.
“This year, I think it’s going to do it,” she said.
This weekend’s race director will be David Hidalgo, a sergeant at arms in the Morgan City Powerboat Association who is certified by the American Powerboat Association. The remainder of the racing crew will be coming in from out of town.
In addition to racing, this year’s event will feature 15 to 20 vintage boats, some 40 to 50 years old, which will be navigated through the race course but will not be competing.
“It’s mainly for show,” Siracusa said.
Siracusa said the boats are what a lot of people here recall in boat racing.
No presale tickets will be available to the general public, only for sponsors. Five sponsorship levels are available, from Diamond ($3,000) to the Small Business Package ($250).
Admission to the event is $10 each day for racing.
Event organizers hope to begin racing Saturday at 10 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m. or 5:30 p.m., while Sunday they hope to begin at 11 a.m. and continue until the same time.
Food vendors also will be on site. No ice chests will be allowed onsite.
In addition to racing, the race site also will feature a historical tent with pictures and trophies on display from previous races in Morgan City as well as a souvenir tent.
Approximately 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, two bands, Gone Pecan and Boat Trash, will perform at an event, free to the public.
Meanwhile, the Pit Party, a private event, will be held at the same time. The 2013 Miss Lake Palourde will be crowned at the event.
Fireworks, complements of the City of Morgan City, will be held at 9 p.m. Saturday, Siracusa said.