Fast start: races a hit in comeback

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 21, 2003

So what if a little rain fell on the Tombigbee Saturday afternoon. It didn’t stop more than 125 drag boats and more than 2,000 people from attending the first sort of race in Demopolis in nearly 30 years.

Despite an afternoon shower that sent a few people scuffling for umbrellas and personal coolers, organizers of the event said this rebirth of drag boat racing in Demopolis was a huge success.

Not much was settled on Saturday afternoon as drag boats from across the southeast whipped through a quarter-mile race track set up along the banks of the city landing. Young and old people alike cheered as the boats zipped past the shoreline. And even those who spent their Saturday afternoon on personal boats had to stop and take a look.

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Guarded by the U.S. Coast Guard, Corps of Engineers and the Marine Police, passers by &045;&045; some with dogs on board &045;&045; wondered where they could park to catch a glimpse of the race boats.

One of the loudest moments of the day came when local racer C.J. Davis took to the track shortly after the rain subsided. He and J.R. Suttles are both racing in the weekend event put on by OBDA.

Admission to the event was $5 per adult and $3 per young person, and some of the proceeds will be used to help stage another event later in the year &045;&045; Christmas on the River.

But this weekend belonged to the drag boat racers who came to town with teams and families and a number of RVs.

Along with the races, which begin again today at noon and last until 6 p.m., Leverett said the entire atmosphere is great for the family.

Though the food is good, the racing obviously has stolen the show so far.

If danger is what you’re interested in seeing, Sunday afternoon’s races are a good place to stop.