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Regatta President Morris Announced Annual Regatta Cancelled

By Staff | May 6, 2020

The annual New Martinsville Vintage Regatta, which had been scheduled for June 20-21, has been canceled for this year, because of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Regatta President Penny Morris said the event’s 10-member board made the decision out of concern for both spectators and participants. Social distancing to limit spread of the coronavirus would have been virtually impossible because crowds traditionally have gathered “right down on the riverbank” to watch the event. It is held on the river at the former site of the Magnolia Yacht Club, just off Main Street.

This would have been the fourth year for the regatta, which spotlights vintage raceboats of the type formerly seen in New Martinsville annually, in what was one of the premier events on the national hydroplane racing circuit. Some of the restored vintage boats raced at New Martinsville during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

About 50 of them, several capable of well over 100 mph, were expected for this year’s regatta, Morris said.

“It’s an unfortunate situation, because of the coronavirus,” she commented, adding that “all other river activities seem to be canceling because of the pandemic.”

Raceboat owners informed of the cancellation were supportive, Morris noted, adding that most said they plan to attend the 2021 regatta. “This is one of the events they really like to come to, because of the way they’re treated. They said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll be back next year’.”

Morris added that the regatta’s sponsors also have been supportive. “We thank all of them for sticking with us,” she commented.

Major sponsors for the event have included the Wetzel County Commission, Bayer Heritage Credit Union, Dr. David Bridgeman, Riggenbach Tile and Carpet, Wayside Furniture, Anderson’s Dental, New Martinsville Moose Lodge, Quinet’s Court Restaurant, Mustang Aerial Services of Reno, Ohio; Merco Marine of Wellsburg, Litman Excavating, Bridgeport Rental, Dos Hermanos Restaurant and 93R Radio.