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26th Annual River Roar Headlines Big Weekend!

Title sponsors Are Maier And Associates and Graff Bay City

June 20, 2013       Leave a Comment
By: Stephen Kent

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The annual River Roar returns to Bay City this weekend for the 26th year. Title sponsors Maier And Associates and Graff Bay City will host the races which will feature drivers from ten states and two countries. This is the third race of the 2013 season.

Known as "F1 Powerboat" racing, this Grand Prix style race is said to be similar to Formula One auto racing with teams traveling to races around the world.

The Bay City races started in 1981. In 1990 they became an all volunteer run, non-profit event. Donations have generated over a million dollars, which has been distributed to organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and the Just For Kids Foundation.

Powerboat racing in Bay City is unique for a variety of reasons. In particular, spectators can sit in bleachers or stand on the seawalls right at the water's edge on each side of the river. The closed course keeps the boats right in front of the crowd and those sea walls help generate a lot of chop in the water, which makes for excitement.

2013 promises to "the largest and most competitive races" yet held. Look for at least 44 boats in three classes. The series leader, Terry Rinker, will be back as well as other well known drivers. The oval race course between the bridges is one and a quarter miles long but only 700 feet wide. Spectators are close enough to feel the spray!

The "big boats" are the Formula One's. At 16 feet long and with 350 hp, modified outboard motors, these craft will max out between 105 and 110 mph on the Bay City straight aways. Even the Formula Light boats will hit 85 mph.

Thanks to increased sponsor support, the event is free on both sides of the river this year. Fans are encouraged to donate a non-perishable food item, which will be sent to Hidden Harvest. Donations for the last few years have exceeded 10,000 pounds of food.

Besides the races, the park will feature the usual carnival with events and rides. There is no admission to the carnival although there is a charge for rides. Another new feature this year is the "Brews At The Banks" Brew Pub Tent. Open from noon to 5 on Saturday and Sunday, the tent will feature specialty beers from a variety of breweries.

On the East Side, the band shell will host Rockin'Roar; free live music concerts between races featuring The Josh Ramses Band, The Toyz, The Last and The Bourdons.

The annual Friday Night convert this year features April Wine, Blue Oyster Cult and Night Ranger. Gates will open at 5 for these concerts and the music will start at 7:00.

River Roar is the second of Bay City's summer "BIG WEEKENDS" following the River Front Art Festival. The next events will be the Fourth of July fireworks and the Tall Ships Festival. Plus there are weekly concerts in the park and other events, culminating with the River of Time encampment in September.

Full more details visit riverroar.com .


Formula 1 winner Terry Rinker checks out the controls.

Close access to the races makes this a photographer's dream location.

Nobody wants crashes, but they do happen. Spectators get a close up look at the results of one crash in 2012. (Nobody was hurt).

Dredging deepens the River Roar starting position,
which will also be a Tall Ship docking location in a few weeks.


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Stephen Kent

Steve Kent and his family have lived in Bay City for 40 years. He is VP of Technical Services at MMCC which produces MyBayCity.Com. Kent is active in many Bay City civic organizations.

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