View of the 2002 Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta.
View of the 2002 Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta.

The Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta, named for the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers at Pittsburgh, is an annual motorboat and river festival held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. The festival was first held in 1978[1] and is often host to an F1 ChampBoat Series race. The F1 race, originally held in 1982, was the first F1 power boat race held in the United States.[2] 2008 saw the return of F1 Power Boat racing at the Pittsburgh Regatta after a two-year hiatus following the 2005 festival.[2] The festival had been scheduled to coincide with the July 4th holiday, however 2016 saw a return to the Regatta being held prior in early August, as it traditionally was prior to 2004.[3] The festival is the largest inland regatta in the United States,[4] drawing tens of thousands of fans along the Allegheny River. The F1 race course consists of a 4-pin 1.25 (2 km) course.[5] In 2008, the Pittsburgh regatta F1 ChampBoat race was nationally broadcast on the Speed Channel.[6]

The Regatta is the annual continuation of the original speed boat and paddle wheeler races of the "Pittsburgh Welcome Week Regatta" held annually starting on May 21, 1949 and through the mid-1950s.

Festival

Festival crowd at Point State Park with the downtown Pittsburgh skyline in the background
Festival crowd at Point State Park with the downtown Pittsburgh skyline in the background
Artists working on an annual sand sculpture for the Regatta
Artists working on an annual sand sculpture for the Regatta

The race corresponds to a three-day festival in downtown Pittsburgh consisting of variety of events including free concerts, food vendors, aerial competitions, various water sports, dragon boat races, and the July Fourth fireworks display for the City of Pittsburgh. Over 1.5 million people are estimated to have attended some aspect of the regatta events every year.[4]

1988 Accident

On August 7, 1988, one of the Formula 1 boats went out of control and crashed into a crowd near Three Rivers Stadium. A 7-year-old boy was killed, and 24 were injured.[7] The accident was captured on live TV during the broadcast of a Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets baseball game from a blimp above the stadium.

Results

1979

Held August 11 & 12 and hosted the "Mid-America Sternwheeler Race" with finishing line being the Smithfield Street Bridge.[8][9]

2008

Place boat number pilot team hometown points
1 42 Shaun Torrente Grand Prix Boats GLBC Homestead, FL 400
2 16 Tim Seebold Bud Light Team Seebold Osage Beach, Missouri 380
3 10 Terry Rinker Rinker/Amsoil Racing Tampa, FL 360
4 38 Jeff Shepherd Shepherd Construction Woodlawn, TN 350
5 17 Brian Venton Jenkinson Telecom/Hancock Inc. Bowmanville, ON 340
6 41 Randy Rinker Rinker/Amsoil Racing Syracuse, Indiana 330
7 72 Lynn Simburger Playcraft Boats Elsah, Illinois 320
8 88 Billy Joule B&B / Joule Marine Transport Tiera Verde, FL 310
9 1 Nithat Kunjeng Singha Beer Thailand 300
10 8 Mark Johnson Pur Sang Engineering Jaffrey, NH 290
11 6 Matt Sadl XG-AD.COM/Massageluxe.com Pacific, MO 280

Cancellations

On July 30, 2019, board members of the Three Rivers Regatta announced that the Regatta, scheduled for August 2nd to 4th 2019, would not be held, citing the failure of the event's promoter to obtain necessary permits and insurance, as well as the money it still owed from earlier Regattas to, among others, the state of Pennsylvania for the use of Point State Park, and both the city of Pittsburgh and the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office for providing security.[10][11] Bankruptcy hearings for the event's promoter continued into 2020,[12] and the Regatta was also cancelled for 2020[13] and 2021.[14]

References

  1. ^ "Regatta Success". The Pittsburgh Press. 1978-07-26. p. B-2.
  2. ^ a b Michael Machosky, Regatta revs up for return of Grand Prix racing, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 2008-06-29, accessdate=2009-03-01
  3. ^ Marylynne Pitz, New-look Regatta ends in a splash of fireworks, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2004-07-05, accessdate=2009-03-01
  4. ^ a b Tim O'Brien, 1.5 Million Head To The River For Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Regatta, Amusement Business, 1999-08-23, accessdate=2009-03-01
  5. ^ The Official Site of F1 ChampBoat Racing: Jul 3-4 Pittsburgh, PA, accessdate=2009-03-01
  6. ^ City's Enthusiasm Over Three Rivers Regatta Grows, WPXI Pittsburgh, 2008-06-05, accessdate=2009-03-01
  7. ^ [1] The Three Rivers Regatta Accident: An EMS Perspective
  8. ^ The Pittsburgh Press – Google News Archive Search
  9. ^ The Pittsburgh Press – Google News Archive Search
  10. ^ Silver, Jonathan. "Three Rivers Regatta canceled; board and city officials blame event promoter". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 13 July 2021.
  11. ^ Klimovich Harrop, Joanne; Bauder, Bob. "Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Regatta canceled amid money, insurance concerns". Trib Live. Trib Total Media. Retrieved 13 July 2021.
  12. ^ Davidson, Tom. "Pittsburgh regatta promoter testifies his business was a 'sinking ship'". Trib Live. Trib Total Media. Retrieved 13 July 2021.
  13. ^ Shumway, John. "No Chesney, No Regatta, No Fireworks: Coronavirus Pandemic Stealing Pittsburgh's Summer Fun". CBS Local Pittsburgh. Viacom CBS. Retrieved 13 July 2021.
  14. ^ McGrane, Suzie. "Fun On The River at the Annual Three Rivers Regatta". Visit Pittsburgh. Visit Pittsburgh. Retrieved 13 July 2021.