April 29, 2014. Louisville, KY.   – This year’s Kentucky Derby Festival Great Steamboat Race will feature two vessels – the Belle of Louisville and the Belle of Cincinnati – vying for Ohio River supremacy. But it will take more than crossing the finish line on Wednesday to win the race.  The same task and scoring system that was implemented five years ago will return this year.

The winner of the Great Steamboat Race will be determined by the vessel which accumulates the most points from performing a series of tasks assigned to each competitor throughout the day and during the race. The task competition gets underway at 2 p.m. on Wednesday at the 4th Street Wharf.  The ten tasks are listed below:


  • Task No. 1: Jousting inflatable competition (10 points for 1st, 5 points for 2nd)
  • Task No. 2: Obstacle inflatable course (10 and 5 points)
  • Task No. 3: Handy line toss (10 and 5 points)
  • Task No. 4: Monkey fist toss (10 and 5 points)
  • Task No. 5: Miniature Paddle Wheel Assembly (10 and 5 points)
  • Task No. 6: Calliope contest (10 and 5 points)
  • Task No. 7: Buoy flag retrieval (25 points for successful retrieval, 0 points for failure)
  • Task No. 8: VIP retrieval (25 points for successful retrieval, 0 points for failure)
  • Task No. 9: Bourbon barrel head (25 points for successful retrieval, 0 points for failure)
  • Task No. 10: Boat race finish (29 points) 2nd vessel under the bridge will get 15 points added to their score.


Failure to perform a task will result in a “no score,” plus a 35-point penalty. The vessel with the most points as determined by the judges will be declared the winner. The majority decision of the judges will be final. The Awards Ceremony will take place immediately following the race on the Miller Lite Music Stage inside the Chow Wagon in Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront. The winner will be presented with a set of 12-point Silver Antlers.

Boarding for the Great Steamboat Race will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., with the boats departing the shore at 5:45 for a 6 p.m. start. Each boat will be assigned two judges, in addition to an overall event judge from the Derby Festival.

Tickets for the Belle of Louisville (while still available) cost $130, Belle of Cincinnati dinner tickets cost $80 (includes Four Rose Bourbon tasting and dinner) and cruise only tickets are $60 (no food or drink included – concessions available on board). Passenger tickets for both boats may be purchased by calling (502) 584-FEST. Free spectator viewing at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront and along the banks of the Ohio River.

Contributing sponsors of this year’s Great Steamboat Race are Four Roses Bourbon, Republic Industries International, Inc., Captain’s Quarters Riverside Grille and Lite 106.9.