It was a competitive day on the wharf as crews from the Belle of Louisville and the Belle of Cincinnati went head to head, competing in a series of tasks leading up to the historic Kentucky Derby Festival Great Steamboat Race tonight. But it came down to a barrel of bourbon.
After all the points were tallied, the judges debated and the Mayor weighed in, the coveted 12-point silver antlers stayed with Louisville’s sternwheeler.
“Shenanigans are afoot,” exclaimed Captain Ben Bernstein of the Belle of Cincinnati, who stepped in for his dad, Captain Alan. He cried foul against Louisville’s Belle. “We’ve been hometowned.”
A task and scoring system determines the winner of the Great Steamboat Race. The Belle of Louisville won 140 to 119, after the Belle of Cincinnati scored zero points for not completing Task No. 9, retrieving a bourbon barrel at Cox Park. The barrel was nowhere to be found.
Said Mayor Greg Fischer, “This is a clear and decisive victory. The first responsibility is security. If they lost their barrel, it’s their fault.”
The antlers were awarded to the Belle of Louisville at the Awards Ceremony on the Music Stage inside the Chow Wagon. Here’s how the Belle’s scored throughout the day:
- Task No. 1: Jousting inflatable competition (Belle of Louisville 10, Belle of Cincinnati 5)
- Task No. 2: Obstacle inflatable course (Belle of Louisville 5, Belle of Cincinnati 10)
- Task No. 3: Handy line toss (Belle of Louisville 10, Belle of Cincinnati 5)
- Task No. 4: Monkey fist toss (Belle of Louisville 10, Belle of Cincinnati 5)
- Task No. 5: Miniature Paddle Wheel Assembly (Belle of Louisville 10, Belle of Cincinnati 5)
- Task No. 6: Calliope contest (Belle of Louisville 5, Belle of Cincinnati 10)
- Task No. 7: Buoy flag retrieval (Belle of Louisville 25, Belle of Cincinnati 25)
- Task No. 8: VIP retrieval at Cox Park (Belle of Louisville 25, Belle of Cincinnati 25)
- Task No. 9: Bourbon barrel head (Belle of Louisville 25, Belle of Cincinnati 0)
- Task No. 10: Boat race finish (Belle of Louisville 15, Belle of Cincinnati 29)