Crank it up: River City Rumble comes to Demopolis

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 10, 2006

This weekend people in the city of Demopolis are going to feel the need – the need for speed.

This weekend, Demopolis will play host to the River City Rumble, a two-day dragboat race sponsored in part by Unicel and the Demopolis Chamber of Commerce.

“We expect about 75 race teams from across the southeast,” said Kelly Smith, president of the Demopolis Chamber of Commerce.

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“The boat races started as a fund raiser for Christmas on the River and it is still growing. Things are looking bigger and better each year.”

The event is slated for Saturday and Sunday, but according to Bruce Tripp, president of the Outboard Dragboat Racing Association, River City Rumble’s governing body, teams from within 400 miles will begin to arrive in Demopolis on Friday.

That evening the race teams will have a Test and Tune session, similar to NASCAR’s Happy Hour, which will be open to the public.

“Everybody that I’ve talked to have said they’re coming to the race,” said Tripp.

“Everyone enjoys coming here because it’s centrally located and most of the racers are going to be coming from within 400 miles of the city, if you drew a circle.”

Admission for the event is slated for $7 for adults and $4 for kids 12-years old and under.

“This is a family event,” said Smith. “There will be children’s activities, blow-up slides, a rock-climbing wall and food vendors.

Families can bring their lawn chairs and their blankets and enjoy the racing.”

While the first two years of the River City Rumble were decidedly successful, the event hit a small snafu in it’s third edition.

“Last year was a setback due to Hurricane Dennis,” said Smith.

“We had to move the race back two weeks. It hurt attendance and racers. But we still had a good turnout despite the hurricane. This year, we’re hoping for good weather and good numbers.”

The event is slated to start at noon and run until 6 p.m., both days.

“We’re excited about coming here,” said Tripp.

“Everyone’s been really nice to us each time we’ve come down.”