The Great Steamboat Race Returns May 4 to Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It will be a battle of two Belles and a Countess along the Ohio River as the Liberty Financial Great Steamboat Race returns on Wednesday, May 4.

The Belle of Louisville and her uphill rival, the Belle of Cincinnati, as well as the American Countess, will compete for bragging rights and the coveted Silver Antlers at this long-time favorite festival.

“It wouldn’t be Derby week without the Great Steamboat Race,” said Matt Gibson, KDF Chairman and CEO. “We can’t wait to see the fans back on the waterfront this year to cheer on all three boats, and may the best win!”

From three boats to three brothers. A special tasting took place this morning with the new official Bourbon of this year’s Great Steamboat Race – the Brough Brothers distillery in Louisville. The distillery is owned and operated by brothers Victor, Bryson and Chris Yarbrough. The tasting took place today to select the batch of bourbon that will be served on the Belle de Louisville during the race.

“We grew up watching the Great Steamboat Race and being able to participate as a sponsor has now come full circle for us,” said Victor Yarbrough, CEO of Brough Brothers Distillery.

Brough Brothers Distillery is Kentucky’s first African-American distillery. And they’ll serve their bourbon on the Belle of Louisville – the world’s oldest operating Mississippi-style steamboat.

Liberty Financial joins the event as the new main sponsor in 2022.

“As director of the Kentucky Derby Festival and vice president of commercial lending at Liberty Financial, it was a natural partnership between the two,” says Leslie Raeber-Eberle, vice president, commercial banker at Liberty Financial. “We’re proud to sponsor the Kentucky Derby Festival and, while it’s long overdue, to celebrate with our city!”

The 14-mile course on the Ohio River begins and ends at the Clark Memorial Bridge.

Each boat will be allocated two judges, in addition to an overall judge from the Derby Festival event. The majority decision of the judges will be final. The winner will receive the 12-point silver wood set at the post-race ceremony.

Embarkation for the Great Steamboat Race will be from 4.30pm to 5.30pm, with all boats leaving the shore at 5.45pm for a 6pm departure. The awards ceremony will take place immediately afterwards on the Chow Wagon stage at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the waterfront.

Tickets for the Louisville Belle are sold out, but to purchase tickets for the Cincinnati Belle, call (800) 261-8586.

Liberty Financial is the title sponsor of this year’s race, joining contributing sponsors Brough Brothers Distillery and PPL Therapeutic Services, PLLC; Support the creative charters of sponsors; and media sponsor: Q103.1. The official bourbon is the Brough Brothers distillery.

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