Listen Live

MADISON, Ind. — High-speed boat racing will return to the Ohio River this summer.

The city of Madison announced Thursday that the Madison Regatta will happen this Fourth of July weekend, after it was canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The board and I are excited to be able to bring the Madison Regatta event to our beautiful riverfront this year, considering the hard year we all had,” Madison Regatta President Greg Thorpe said. “This will be great for our community as well as the many loyal race fans.”

The Regatta has been popular since it first began in 1951, bringing tens of thousands of fans down to the city’s riverfront every year. It used to be featured on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” It also inspired the 2005 Hollywood motion picture “Madison.” That movie was based on the local team, Miss Madison, winning the race in 1971. This year will mark the 50th anniversary since that victory.

“It is ironic that we find ourselves in a similar situation as Mayor Don Vaughn was in 50 years ago, searching for ways to bring the Regatta to the City of Madison,” said Madison Mayor Bob Courtney. “The Madison Regatta is an iconic event with deep community roots but even more so, it is an economic driver for the community’s tourism economy and we found it very compelling to work with the Regatta Board and its volunteers to join with the Jefferson County Board of Tourism to financially support the event this year.”

The weekend will feature two different racing series — H1 Unlimited and Grand Prix America. H1 says their race on Sunday, July 4 will be this year’s APBA Gold Cup, which is the “Indy 500” of boat racing.

Along with the high-speed boat racing action on the water, the Roostertail Music Festival will also return, giving fans an opportunity to check out live music Friday and Saturday nights.

A general admission ticket, to get you into both the races and the music festival, will cost $30 now through April 30. Prices will go up to $40 from May 1 through June 26, and $50 from June 27 to the weekend of the event July 2-4. Tickets and more information can be found at