With the Evansville Freedom Festival in trouble, in debt, and trying to sell the very assets it needs to put on a hydroplane race, the The American Boat Racing Association has stepped to the plate with a proposal to keep racing intact in 2009 in the Indiana city.
Dr. Ken Muscatel has been working behind-the-scenes to put together a deal to keep the boats in the water and the Thunder on the Ohio. Muscatel, who is Vice Chairman of the ABRA Board, presented an offer to Freedom Festival officials that would have ABRA take over the docks (previously up for sale) and other assets.
ABRA will also take on management of the race. It's the first time the ABRA would put on the race itself.
"Today's action is a first step for ABRA," said Sam Cole, ABRA Chairman. "We have always said our first priority is to continue the tradition of the Evansville race. It has not been an easy process, but we see some daylight at the end of the tunnel."
Official News Release from ABRA:
The Board of Directors of the American Boat Racing Association voted to acquire the physical assets of the Evansville Freedom Festival along with specified liabilities as a first step towards holding the 31st running of Thunder on the Ohio next summer.
During a teleconference on Friday, Nov. 21, the ABRA Board finalized an offer to the Freedom Festival and agreed to move forward with obtaining the necessary approvals and commitments needed to stage the race on Labor Day weekend. This includes alignment with an Evansville Charity, obtaining support from the City of Evansville for its services, coordination with Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville (GAGE) and securing commitments for sponsorship of the event.