by Jonathan Weaver
An upcoming water racing event in Kittanning is official.
Before Kittanning Borough Police sponsored a showing of the animated movie “Minions” in Kittanning Riverfront Park Friday night, Three Rivers Outboard Racing Association Governor Jeff Williams, Alle-Kiski Strong Chamber Vice-President of Events Lynda Pozzuto and Kittanning Hose Company #1 Vice-President Patrick Shuster all signed an agreement to bring power boat racing back to Kittanning this August 19-21 as part of Riverbration.
Officials also exchanged a $2,500 check to solidify preparations.
Williams, from Ford City, started racing when the races began in Kittanning in 1980.
“I’ve been talking to various people, planting seeds trying to find someone that was interested,” Williams said. “From 1980-1996, there was a race here every year. Then, they shut it down to reconfigure the park and we could just never get back.
“A lot of fond memories – a lot of good friends.”
Williams, who also works at a boat dealership in Glenshaw, also races in Franklin and Lock Haven events, as well as those east of the Mississippi River. Boat races in August will feature individuals traveling up to 90 miles per hour in the three-quarter mile track along the Allegheny River.
Sons Brian and Chris also started racing after their father, and will attend the August event. Brian also plans to race.
Williams began coordinating with Hose Company #1 Assistant Chief Kevin Kline before Pozzuto came on board a few years ago.
The event has been promoted during the Pittsburgh Mills HomExpo in February and during a Cranberry event. Pozzuto said people were very interested at both. "I could not keep him supplied with flyers – I was printing them off by the hundreds,” Pozzuto said. “(Williams) spent three entire days at the HomExpo and (gave out) one flyer after the other.” Both Kline and Pozzuto also remember attending the boat races 20 years ago. Only eight spots remain so that residents can test the boats themselves August 19 or individuals can sponsor a race heat. Nearly 10 corporations and groups are already sponsors.
Other Kittanning Riverfront Park events are also being coordinated in conjunction with Riverbration.