From the Kittanning Leader Times newspaper, April 16, 2019
It’s the power boaters who really create the buzz — and not just with their high-octane motors.
The word of mouth spread by those who take part in the Kittanning Riverbration contributed largely to the event recently being named winner of the American Power Boat Association (APBA) prestigious Best Site Award for 2018.
“Racers talk to each other — they come from Virginia, North Carolina, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania — and they tell each other what a great place this is,” said Mary Williams, who along with her husband, Jeff, serves as the event’s organizer.
Acknowledged as a leader in race production for four categories, and 21 classes of American Power Boat Association’s (APBA) sanctioned races, Riverbration was recently named as the winner of APBA’s prestigious Best Site Award for 2018.
“We were both totally surprised, and it’s a great honor for Kittanning,” Mrs. Williams said. “We were up against sites like the Three Rivers Regatta … so this is really exciting.”
The presentation to the Williams’ was made over the winter months in Orlando, during the annual APBA meeting and convention.
The occasion give everyone within the sanctioning organization a clear view of what it takes to be the best.
Chosen from the more than 326 racing events throughout the 2018 calendar year, the Kittanning entry for the APBA Best Site hit all parameters with an average of 9.5 out of 10 points scores, according to Sherron Winer, APBA National Promotion and Marketing Committee co-chair.
“Kittanning is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when there is synergy between the race and the community,” Winer said. “Mary and Jeff Williams, event organizers, have set the bar high for the future.”
In their application, the Williams’ detailed key aspects of promotion and production, including how important the cooperation of their sponsors was to the overall success.
“You have to grade yourself on how you think your race did,” said Mrs. Williams, adding that all sites entering the competition nationwide were judged in one collective pool, regardless of size, scope or budget.
“We do take a lot of pride in the Kittanning boat race. Those racers really enjoy the town, they love the people who come out to watch, and they say it’s much more enjoyable for them to race when people are watching,” she added.
And, by any standard, according to Winer, “any race that fields 111 entries per day, manages to promote their event through creative use of traditional media as well as three Internet platforms, provide evening entertainment, and hold an APBA Driving School, all with a small budget, demonstrates what can be accomplished by a dedicated group of volunteers.”
The Williams’ are first and foremost thankful for all the support they annually receive on a local level to make the event a success.
“Without the support of Alle Kiski Strong Chamber of Commerce, Kittanning Hose Hook and Ladder Co. 1, and the Fraternal Order of Eagles No. 896, this award, and more importantly, our race would not be possible,” Mrs. Williams said. “We always hang posters throughout town, we’re on Facebook and Instagram … and with the electronic billboards, a lot of people have donated time for us to advertise on them.”
The Williams’ will have a booth at the upcoming Armstrong County HomExpo on May 4-5 at the Belmont Sports Complex in East Franklin Township.
“Riverbration thanks each of you as well as our other supporters for making it all possible,” Mrs. Williams said. “We look forward to seeing everyone this coming Aug. 16-18, for the 2019 edition of exciting, free fun.”
In addition to the APBA sanctioned racing competitions and APBA classes, the upcoming event will return with the featured activities, including:
* The 4th annual Armstrong County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Kruise-Aid car cruise will be held to benefit the department’s K-9 Fund;
* A free Foam Party will be held at the park for children;
* A free “Touch the Truck” event in which participants will have the opportunity to touch, climb aboard and explore vehicles that are normally off-limits, including: fire and rescue trucks, police vehicles and construction vehicles;
* Amusement rides;
* Live musical entertainment at the John P. Murtha Amphitheater at Kittanning Riverfront Park;
* Multiple food vendors.
“We’re going to try and keep a good thing going,” Mrs. Williams said. “And we are still accepting sponsorships for anyone who would like to make this year’s event happen.”
Those interested in serving as sponsors of the 2019 Riverbration are asked to call Lynda Pozzuto, executive director of the Alle Kiski Strong Chamber, at 724-224-3400 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A.J. Panian is the managing editor of The Leader Times. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1325, or email@example.com.