Roaring on the river

Posted on May 25 2022 in Travel
Madison Regatta
The world’s fastest boats will be skimming across the surface of the Ohio River at the Madison Regatta, July 1-3.

When it comes to the world’s fastest motorsports, the 2.5-mile oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is where it’s at during the month of May and Memorial Day Weekend. But the Fourth of July Weekend belongs to the annual Madison Regatta and its 2.5-mile circuit on the Ohio River.

Skimming and skipping across the water at up to nearly 200 miles per hour, the world’s fastest boats will vie for the Indiana Governor’s Cup, July 1-3, as the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Series roars and roostertails its way to the Madison Riverfront.

In addition, the beautiful Jefferson County rivertown will host a wide variety of other events accompanying the races, including the Roostertail Music Festival, July 1-2, and activities tied to the Fourth of July celebration. The regatta itself has been held annually for 72 years in Madison and is one of the largest hydroplane races in the United States.

Today’s hydroplanes are about 30 feet long, weigh more than three tons, are powered by 3,000-horsepower gas-turbine engines. They skim across the water’s surface at breathtaking speed while throwing spray high into the air. Average lap speeds in Madison will likely be in the neighborhood of 150 to more than 160 mph.

The Roostertail Music Festival 2022 lineup will include 38 Special, Jo Dee Messina, Cody Ikerd and the Sidewinders, Brother Smith, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, Cole Chaney with special guest Wolfpen Branch, and Logan Halstead.

The weekend of events kicks off Friday, July 1, with the City of Madison/Madison Regatta Parade presented by German American Bank and Day 1 of the music festival. A 10k run, autograph sessions with the hydroplane racers, a cornhole tournament, a fireworks extravaganza, will also be part of the weekend.

Other events this month leading up to the Regatta/Fourth of July weekend include a co-Miss Madison Regatta Scholarship Pageant, baby and beauty pageants, waterball fights, street dance, and more. 

Tickets prices range from $40 for the race only to $70 for the race and music festival to $250 for VIP race and music festival access. Primitive camping is also available for $40.

For more information, including a detailed updated list of activities and times, and to order tickets, visit:; or call: 812-274-4112; or find the Madison Regatta on Facebook. For information about lodging, dining, and events around Madison, please go to: