Regatta will turn Pittsburgh into ‘City of Championships’

August 3, 2018
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Sugar Ray

Pittsburgh is rightfully known as “The City of Champions” for the successes through the years of its three professinal sports teams -- the Steelers, the Penguins and the Pirates.

Derek Weber, president of LionHeart Event Group, events manager for the 41st EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta, said this year’s regatta Aug. 3-5 will be the first time that three other sporting championships take place all in the same weekend in the ’Burgh -- and all on the Allegheny River.

Pittsburgh Paddlesports Championships

New to this year’s land, air and water festival, recognized as the largest inland regatta in the nation, will be the Pittsburgh Paddlesports Championships at 12:30 p.m. Aug. 5, co-sponsored by the American Cancer Society, Performance Kayak Inc. and the regatta.

Single or tandem racers can participate in a 6-mile Recreational or Pro Open course in kayak, canoe and stand-up paddleboard (SUP) divisions.

This event is open to all ages and all experience levels with registration in advance at main.acsevents.org/2018 pghpaddlesport.

NGK F1 Powerboat Championships

NGK Formula 1 Powerboats, with speeds reaching 150 mph, return to the regatta with qualifying starting at noon on Aug. 3 and 4; the final championship heats will take place starting at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 5, followed by the awards presentation.

Powerboat racing has a long history in Pittsburgh, beginning with the 1982 regatta, which was the first racing venue in the United States for Formula One Power Boats, according to their sponsor.

This event will be the fourth stop on the 2018 NGK F1 Powerboat Championship featuring Formula 1 and Formula Light races.

USA Jet Ski Freestyle Championships

This year’s jet ski races will feature two evening shows Aug. 3 and 4 with performances at 7:30 and 9 p.m. showcasing jet skiers with hydro-packs illuminated by LED lights and performing jumps, backflips, spins, flips and rolls. The daredevils will compete for the title of Three Rivers Regatta Freestyle Champion.

Anything That Floats -- or doesn’t

Sure to provide some comic relief from the heated championship competitions will be the Alcosan 3 Rivers Proud Anything That Floats Race, the regatta’s annual tribute to creativity and persistence in boat building and teamwork.

The fan favorite event Aug. 4 offers $5,000 in prizes to sailors with the greenest, quickest and most creative watercraft, with a small award for the unlucky vessel that sinks first. The race starts at 5:30 p.m.

Weber said the water events are only part of the “nonstop action weekend that also will feature a ton of family activities, a Kids Zone and food.”

For landlubbers

In addition to festival fare located at Point State Park, North Shore and Liberty Avenue, he said a new Yuengling Beer Garden on the North Shore’s Great Lawn will offer great views of the action in the water as well as the “Regatta Thunder” Fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 4 produced by StarFire Corp. from Cambria County.

Frisbee dog stunt shows will be performed daily by the K9 Crew Trick Dog Show. The crew promises families a high-energy show featuring Frisbee catching, agility racing, canine comedy “and a doggone good time.”

Nightly concerts

It wouldn’t be a regatta without music. This year’s performing artists at 8 p.m. on the main stage in Point State Park include 1990s rock band Sugar Ray on Aug. 3, Pittsburgh band The Commonheart on Aug. 4 and country artist Randy Houser on Aug. 5.

The park also will be the location for Kids Zone, AAA Travel to the Beach Kids Corner, food vendors and a 150-ton sand sculpture that pays tribute to the Pennsylvania Railroad and the region’s history of trains.

An estimated 700,000 spectators are expected throughout the weekend, Weber said.

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