Vintage Raceboat Regatta Takes to the River Today

WHEELING – Dan Joseph will spend much of his 60th birthday hydroplaning on the Ohio River during the Wheeling Vintage Raceboat Regatta.

The eighth annual race that has raised a total of $34,650 for the Easter Seals’ Wheeling center, including $7,500 last year, is scheduled to begin with a 10 a.m. heat today. Organizers gathered Friday for a special dinner and recognition ceremony at WesBanco Arena.

For the first time, Co-Directors Debbie and Dan Joseph named an Easter Seals ambassador for the event – 12-year-old Kelsi Weaver of Martins Ferry.

“I would like to thank everyone for coming and supporting Easter Seals,” Weaver said. “It means a lot to me.”

Dan Joseph received a cake Friday, although today is his birthday. He hopes to spend as much of this birthday as possible aboard a boat.

“We thank you for all your help,” he said in recognizing the 43 people “who work tirelessly to bring the regatta to you.”

Debbie Joseph said her husband has always had a fascination with raceboats, as he used to attend the New Martinsville Regatta as a child. Together, they enjoy organizing the Wheeling event each year.

Debbie Joseph thanked city Councilmen Robert “Herk” Henry and Don Atkinson for attending the Friday dinner, as well as Ohio County Commissioner Orphy Klempa and Wheeling Public Works Director Russell Jebbia.

Recognized Friday as the 2013 Henry Lauterbach Excellence in Power Boat Racing Award winner was Walt Carter of Virginia. The award is named for the late Henry Lauterbach, who raced hydroplanes for many years.

“Henry’s contributions to the sport were huge, just like those of the Josephs,” Carter said in acknowledging Debbie and Dan.

The first Wheeling regatta was held in 2006 and over the years has attracted competitors from a number of states.

Major sponsors for this year’s event include WesBanco, A.D. Baker Homes, Merco Marine, Savage Crane and Construction, Health Plan, Lowe’s of Wheeling and Comcast.

Weekend events are set as follows:

Today and Sunday

9:15 a.m.-Ohio River closed to through traffic; buoys placed and course set.

9:45 a.m.-opening ceremonies/blessing/United States and Canadian national anthems.

10 a.m. to noon-heats of vintage hydroplanes and raceboats on the Ohio River.

Noon to 1:30 p.m.-Ohio River opened to regular river traffic; radio-controlled airplane shows by the Ohio Valley Hillhoppers; free autograph session with raceboat drivers (free posters to the first 100 people); music by Hit Play.

1:30 p.m.-river closed to through traffic; buoys placed and course set; Sea Quest Kids’ boats testing and racing on the Ohio River.

2-6 p.m.-heats of vintage hydroplanes and raceboats on the Ohio River.

6 p.m.-Ohio River opened to through traffic.

Today Only

7:30-9 p.m.-Rust Belt Kings with Joe Zelek.

9:30-11 p.m.-Easy Street.

In case of bad weather, Saturday musical entertainment will be moved indoors to WesBanco Arena.