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Evansville HydroFest™ will return to the Ohio Riverfront in Downtown Evansville, Indiana USA over the Labor Day weekend in 2018.  Evansville HydroFest™ will host the American Power Boat Association’s Eastern Divisional Championships for 14 classes of Inboard Boats during the 3-day event, Friday August 31st, Saturday September 1st, and Sunday September 2nd, 2018.

All 14 classes of eligible APBA boats use inboard powerplants, as opposed to outboard motors, in a variety of hull designs, including flat bottom, V bottom, and hydroplanes.  The classes are grouped by hull type, length, weight, and size and type of engine.  Each class is distinguished by letters, such as Y, NMH, and GP.

In its inaugural year 2017, Evansville HydroFest™ attracted a total of 53 teams in 10 different classes, including 1 Litre Y Hydroplanes, National Modified Hydroplanes NMH, and Grand Prix Hydroplanes GP.  Hurricane Harvey caused inclement weather and river conditions requiring many adjustments to the racing schedule, but the fans and race teams unanimously declared the event a great success.  For 2018, a comparable number of teams are expected from throughout North American including Canada.

The GP’s are the loudest, fastest, and largest of the APBA Inboard Classes, using 468 cubic inch supercharged/fuel injected V8 engines running on methanol and producing upwards of 1500 horsepower.  The current world straightaway record was set in Fall 2016 by GP15, driven by Jerry Hopp at 170.620 mph.

The Grand Prix’s are organized and presented by Grand Prix world (GPW).  The Executive Director is Mr. Sam Cole, a longtime organizer of hydroplane racing.

Evansville HydroFest™ is presented by Evansville Events, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit entity of the Evansville Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Mr. Bob Warren is the Executive Director.  Serving on the Executive Organizing Committee are Mr. Vernon Stevens, President of Southern Business Machines and Mr. Randy Lientz, President of AXIOM.  All members reside in Evansville.

Bob Warren emphasized: “We are presenting Evansville HydroFest™ because our residents and visitors have asked for a new form of boatracing on our beautiful Ohio River.  They want more boats, closer competition, less downtime, cooler temperatures, and MORE ROAR! And we will deliver.  We chose Labor Day weekend because high temperatures will be around 85 degrees.  As for action, as soon one race is completed, the next heat will begin.”

Admission cost for Evansville HydroFest™ is $10 total for the 2 days of racing.  12 and under are free.  The wristbands will go on sale June 28th at all 6 Schnucks Evansville/Newburgh locations, and additional sales locations will be the Evansville Museum and SWIRCA.


The Preliminary Event Schedule is as follows:


Friday, August 31, 2018

8:00 am to 1:00 pm              Pit and Race Course Set Up, Team Registration

1:00 pm to 5:00 pm              River Closed

Testing & Qualifying for All Classes

5:00 pm                                  River Open to Traffic


Saturday, September 1, 2018

9:00 am                                  Mandatory Driver’s Meeting

10:00 am to 5:00 pm            River Closed

4-lap Qualifying Heat Races for All Classes

5:00 pm                                  River Open to Traffic


Sunday, September 2, 2018

10:00 am to 5:00 pm            River Closed

4-lap Qualifying and Championship Heat Races for All Classes

5:00 pm                                  Awards Presentation

River Open to Traffic


Vernon Stevens stated: “The Evansville HydroFest™ represents an entirely new form of family entertainment for the Midwest.  The Mission of our event is:

To Present Quality of Life Family Entertainment with a Sustainable Event Utilizing the Ohio River to Retain and Attract Citizens and Visitors to Evansville, Indiana USA.”


“Our Vision for Evansville HydroFest™ is to:

  •   Provide Affordable, Family Friendly Entertainment
  •   Utilize the Natural Resource of the Ohio River
  •   Deliver a Quality, World-Class Event
  •   Engage the Tri-State Community, the Midwest, and All North America
  •   Manage the Event to Be Self Sustainable for Future Generations”

“Our Values for Evansville HydroFest™ are:

  •   We Are in the Entertainment Business
  •   Professional Race Teams are Necessary to Deliver Quality Entertainment
  •   Spectators Will Pay a Fair Price for Quality Entertainment
  •   Sound Fiduciary Principles Are Necessary for Sustainability.”


Randy Lientz continued: “We are grateful for the support of Evansville’s Mayor Lloyd Winnecke and the various city services we need to present Evansville HydroFest™.  We are working closely with the City of Evansville, the United States Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers, American Power Boat Association, Grand Prix World, and the Evansville Convention & Visitors Bureau.”

Vernon Stevens says “More than 100 volunteers will be needed to stage Evansville HydroFest™.  Dubbed “The Roar Corps,” a wide variety of positions are needed before, during, and after the event.”  Interested individuals and groups can register at: evansvillehydrofest.com/volunteer.”

Stevens also emphasized: “Corporate Sponsorships are now being solicited to help fund Evansville HydroFest™, beginning with the Title Sponsor.  The Executive Committee will meet with interested businesses to explain the benefits of participation in the event, details, provisions, and costs.


For more information about the American Power Boat Association, visit www.apba.org

For more information about Evansville HydroFest™, visit www.evansvillehydrofest.com

For more information about the City of Evansville, visit www.visitevansville.com

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