Hometown hydro champ sees regatta as ‘a racing heritage’

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Special to The Trimble Banner

Kentucky and Indiana have a racing heritage deeper than any two states in our country. Whether it’s horses (The Kentucky Derby), cars (the Indianapolis 500) or boat racing (the Indiana Governor’s Cup at Madison), no region has the heritage we do. And what is heritage in this time of social media and 15-second fame? It’s what makes us who we are. It’s our legacy. It’s a time of year that no one can take from us. It’s our place in history, a collection of memories, of people and associated events that fill our lives with a richness that isn’t momentary.

This July 4th weekend on the Ohio River along the shorelines of Madison, Ind. and Milton, Ky., I’ll be participating in the 60th annual Indiana Governor’s Cup.

This is not just another race, this is 60 years of history, bringing national television, the world’s fastest boats and over 60,000 people to our river towns for a weekend of family fun, competition and a fireworks celebration for our great country. It’s about freedom, the liberty to enjoy, to share with others, to come together and celebrate our wonderful democratic experiment called America.

It’s special to me for a few more reasons as well. This is my 11th year driving the hometown boat, U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison. We’ll be defending our third consecutive National Championship, only equalled by the legendary Miss Budweiser. We’ll be defending last year’s win against what is promised to be the fastest Unlmited fleet in the sport’s history. And still more personal, I’ll be going for my sixth National Driving championship in the past 7 years, a feat matched by only three others in our 107-year history of boat racing.

This is hugely humbling. On my shoulders stand the 13,000 residents of Madison and the hopes and dreams of generations of the region’s residents. And, actually, I’m standing on their shoulders because it them--it’s you--that gave me this chance. And this year in particular, that challenge is greater than ever.

With the new bridge under construction, the race course has been redesigned from a 2.5 mile course to something less than 1 2/3 mile in length. It’s going to be tight, rough, deck-to-deck excitement. In fact, there will be a lot of “rubbin’ and racin’ ” on such a tight course. All of the pageantry, the roostertails and history in the making will be right there to see on the shores of the legendary Ohio river between two states that are truly America’s racing heritage.

I hope you’ll join with me in sharing this great legacy of ours. Long after I’m gone, I hope that you and your children will be an ongoing part of the Indiana Governor’s Cup for decades to come and be a part of the history. Heritage means something, legacy means something, and you mean something because you’re a part of this great region!

Steve David, driver of the Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison, is the defending National Champion in Unlimited hydroplane racing and the defending Madison race champion. Steve and his wife Sabrina reside in Lighthouse Point, Fla., where he is a real estate executive and college instructor.