Steamboating colleagues,
Judy, I totally agree with you above RE: "winner was predetermined" etc. The excitement of the early years [1963] on with the races brought a lot of attention not only to the boats but to Louisville and the Kentucky Derby in national and international eyes. After a few years, as mentioned, it was all a gradual down hill process. Then somebody saw big money in steamboat race tickets with drinks etc. Nothing wrong with that, mind us, as these events cost money. Then other races staged in St. Louis, New Orleans etc. Somebody commented, "The steamboat races could have succeeded later if Betty Blake hadn't passed away." Ummmm, I doubt that as she sensed she'd worn out the theme and concept. Betty took a lot of deserved credit but she didn't do it all alone by a long shot. 'Nuff said here.

R. Dale Flick
Old Coal Haven Landing, Ohio River, Cincinnati.