Boating contest will skip Augusta

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The ChampBoat Grand Prix of Augusta, which lured thousands to the Savannah River in May to watch the return of high-speed "tunnel boat" racing after a 10-year absence, won't be back this year.

Al Robinson, whose boat partially sank in the Savannah River during ChampBoat qualifying in May, won't get a chance at a better run in Augusta. The racing event isn't returning.  Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Al Robinson, whose boat partially sank in the Savannah River during ChampBoat qualifying in May, won't get a chance at a better run in Augusta. The racing event isn't returning.

"We just couldn't get any support there, unfortunately," said Mike Schriefer, the president of Charlotte, N.C.-based ChampBoat Series. "We're not coming back to Augusta."

Promoters hoped the event, modeled after the old River Race Augusta held for a decade before it was discontinued in the 1990s, would become an annual event for race fans already accustomed to the Southern Nationals dragboat competition, which is entering its 23rd year.

The main problem, Mr. Schriefer said, was that no one stepped up to establish a committee or sponsoring organization to promote and manage the event.

"Our business model is to help get an event started and then pass the baton, if you will, and let someone local help it grow," he said. "Usually the market gets real excited, and there's lots of enthusiasm and they put together a committee and it takes off from there."

The Greater Augusta Sports Council, which helped recruit last year's ChampBoat event, did what it could, he said, but the council isn't large enough to do all the promotional work itself.

"With Augusta, it was a lot of shrugged shoulders and a lot of negativity," he said. "Nobody really wanted to take ownership of the event, and we've had to reduce our role as an event promoter."

Randy DuTeau, the sports council's event manager, said losing the series is unfortunate.

"With this event, he was really looking for a local owner," Mr. DuTeau said. "We don't manage a ton of events. We support lots of them, but something like ChampBoat requires a lot of local involvement."

Tammy Stout, the sports council's executive director, said she was disappointed that Mr. Schriefer felt the ChampBoat organization wasn't supported locally.

"Our sponsors, all the volunteers that turned out, the Southern Nationals people, everybody embraced him in this community and did their best to help," she said.

The ChampBoat organization tentatively plans to hold at least 10 races, including a return to Savannah in October.

Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119, or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (21) Add comment
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AugustaVoter
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AugustaVoter 01/09/08 - 07:26 am
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Kiss another decent event

Kiss another decent event goodbye Augusta. Just like the article says. A lot of finger pointing but no one to accept the blame. Sounds just right for this place! Congrats Augusta, We officially suck again!

peonynut
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peonynut 01/09/08 - 07:59 am
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Big surprise

Big surprise

1957
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1957 01/09/08 - 08:05 am
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I went to the races last year

I went to the races last year and it was the saddest thing I ever saw. I bet there wasn't 200 people there. I agree with AugustaVoter.

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 01/09/08 - 08:08 am
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Three people pointing

Three people pointing fingers, did any one of you step forward to help?

bccinco
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bccinco 01/09/08 - 08:54 am
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"With Augusta, it was a lot

"With Augusta, it was a lot of shrugged shoulders and a lot of negativity," he said. "Nobody really wanted to take ownership of the event, and we've had to reduce our role as an event promoter."

Just another indicator as to why Augusta stinks.

dogfan
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dogfan 01/09/08 - 08:56 am
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The people had no clue what

The people had no clue what they were doing and treated the ASN people like they were dogs.

stillamazed
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stillamazed 01/09/08 - 09:13 am
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What a shame, I thought is

What a shame, I thought is was a great event but once again, poor planning on the cities part will let the event go down the tubes. I somethimes feel that their are certain people in Augusta who don't want change. Augusta is a lovely city and the potential is there for it to be a great city. There needs to be events that attract everyone not just a select few.........

a crazy old man
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a crazy old man 01/09/08 - 09:20 am
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What the &%$$? Augustans

What the &%$$? Augustans dropped the ball again? First no good shows at The Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum and then no drag strip and now no boats. What's next?

karmakills123
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karmakills123 01/09/08 - 10:15 am
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Remember South Africa many

Remember South Africa many many years ago? It was a beautiful cultured city............see it now? miles and miles of nothing but crime and ghettos.......thats augusta on a much smalle scale. In South Africa they gave the country to those who demanded it and now its the world's largest garbage dump..... (seems like the seagulls get more and more plentiful each year around augusta)

my2cnts
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my2cnts 01/09/08 - 10:18 am
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To all of you bi#ching and

To all of you bi#ching and moaning about Augusta not supporting this boat race; I have two questions. First; how many of you actually went to the race last year? Second; how many of you volunteered to help organize the race for this year? If you did not do either thing, you need to shut your pie hole. If you are so passionate about having this event; call Mr. Schriefer or Mr. DuTeau and tell them you will step up and help.

whateverandever
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whateverandever 01/09/08 - 10:24 am
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If anyone dropped the ball it

If anyone dropped the ball it was the Champboat company. They left a supposed huge event in the hands of small local council and expected them to do everything. When the city said they didn't want host the event again (due to a lot of lost money I'm sure) Champboat wants to make it sound like they decided to not bring it back. What a load of crap! Pay attention people, get your facts right.

Tell it like it is
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Tell it like it is 01/09/08 - 10:31 am
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Disaugusta does it again. If

Disaugusta does it again. If the corps keep releasing what little water is left in Lake Thurmond we will lose all those events also.

WHATDIDIDO
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WHATDIDIDO 01/09/08 - 10:47 am
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what in the hell does south

what in the hell does south africa have to do with this article?

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 01/09/08 - 10:48 am
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Why does the city have to do

Why does the city have to do it. Most successful, ongoing events are taken on by civic organizations or people in the community and worked from there. Leave the city out of it and get off your behinds and make the changes. I moved from Augusta 15 years ago to a smaller town and I make changes everyday where I live because I am involved in it. I volunteer my time for a couple of events and charities that do really well and no government is involved in any of them. Wake up, quite whining and make a difference!

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 01/09/08 - 11:16 am
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I didn't really realize how

I didn't really realize how bad things have gotten in Augusta until I went to Savannah last week. Savannah has continued to grow and prosper over the past two decades while Augusta has decayed and contracted. South Augusta used to be relatively decent overall, and even West Augusta now is starting to look more and more shabby and depressed. Not working to attract sporting events is just part of the same process of deterioration afflicting this poor city.

Tim Walters
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Tim Walters 01/09/08 - 11:34 am
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GO AUGUSTANS I am suprised

GO AUGUSTANS I am suprised one of the County Commissioners did not ask for the City to take charge. That is an event that you could Rip Off thousands .

TrukinRanger
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TrukinRanger 01/09/08 - 12:30 pm
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We need to tear down all
Unpublished

We need to tear down all these projects & slums... run off the sorry people that won't work. All those crack neighborhoods along Laney Walker & Sandbar Ferry, parts of old town.... and rebuild with nicer neighborhoods. Bring in people that spend money and add to the downtown economy. Get rid of these losers running things (which are in office because of the same low lifes mentioned above...) and bring some money making events to Augusta!

426Hemi
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426Hemi 01/09/08 - 01:29 pm
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ChampBoat organization? Does

ChampBoat organization? Does Champ, uh, I mean CHUMP Walker have anything to do with this? Curious.

iletuknow
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iletuknow 01/09/08 - 01:49 pm
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Had the Augusta requirement

Had the Augusta requirement of low mental comprehension (watching boats speed down the river),should have been a hit.

MartinezWest Augusta
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MartinezWest Augusta 01/09/08 - 04:21 pm
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The problem with augusta is

The problem with augusta is the people who live here. There always negative and do nothing but complain. Instead of bringing change to their community. Just read the comments above, and see how negative people are.

DEVGRU
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DEVGRU 01/09/08 - 07:11 pm
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Augusta has been milked of

Augusta has been milked of everything. The only thing left are the wantabe's, who just don't have the intelligence and training to get the job done.

scorehouse
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scorehouse 01/09/08 - 08:24 pm
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let's have a boat race for
Unpublished

let's have a boat race for the sake of having a boat race? sounds like this year's presidential campaign. change for change's sake. doesn't matter that the change's could be bad, by golly we got change. name the best boat racer in the world. you can't and could care less. congrats to augusta for not getting fleeced again!

BigPix
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BigPix 01/10/08 - 12:28 am
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Nice blog re South Africa.

Nice blog re South Africa. There's also Liberia. For those wondering what is relevant about these cities and the plight of Augusta, the issues would overload your neurons: Don't bother to ask. I'll make it simple. Where there are incompetent city administrators and school board members, a city and its environs would turn into a "blackhole." That is a sociological fact.

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