Monday, April 28, 2008


Congress Denies Exemption For The Delta Queen

Petition Is To Have This Re-Introduced In Congress With Supporters Names and City

It looks like this will be the last summer for Ohio River cruises aboard the historic sternwheeler that used to call Cincinnati its home port. An attempt by Republican Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio to attach an amendment to the Coast Guard Authorization Act was defeated by a narrow 208-195 margin in the U.S. House this past Thursday. This Blog, which has boasted, promoted, and advocated change, and which supports the right sort of change, is also sentimental about tradition, and heritage. Therefore, in an attempt to Save The Queen, and for people to be able to enjoy not only the river cruises aboard the Delta Queen as well as the Belle Of Louisville, and to preserve the tradition and pageantry that is the Great Steamboat Race during the annual Kentucky Derby Festival. There will be a day when these great vessels will no longer be running. Why not, in the midst of all of the proposed "change", keep a tradition that is timeless. Keep the beauty of these ships on display and running for as long as possible for all of us to enjoy. There is a lot of pride that is also on display from both sides of the river when the Great Steamboat Race is on. We all root for the Belle, while those from Cincinnati, and the passengers on the Delta Queen are rooting for their ship to win. With all of the proposed "change"
, let us not forget tradition and heritage in the name of "change". The following segment is the story from WAVE 3-TV's Shayla Reaves on The Delta Queen. If you would like to have your name added to this petition that will be sent to Rep. John Yarmuth, and to Rep. Baron Hill, asking them to join with Republican Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio in reintroducing this on the floor of the Congress by showing this petition and the will of the people. Please add your name and your city to this petition by entering a comment, or by sending me your name and city via e-mail, and I will enter it. My E-mail address is

This year's steamboat race could be last for Delta Queen if Congress doesn't act

By Shayla Reaves

"As the Kentucky Derby Festival takes to the Ohio River this week, The Belle of Louisville will race the Delta Queen as it has for years -- but it could be the last time. WAVE 3's Shayla Reaves has more on why this 45th Great Steamboat Race is so bittersweet.

It's one of the Kentucky Derby Festival's oldest events, and now there's a race against time to save it. The Delta Queen is a regular in the Great Steamboat Race, but a much needed exemption isn't getting enough support for renewal from Congress. It's an exemption that's been granted nine times in the past, but this year support is slow in coming.

"It would be a tragic loss to the Derby Festival, to our community and really to the history of America if we were to lose the Delta Queen's participation in the event," Kentucky Derby Festival President Mike Berry told WAVE 3 News.

The Delta Queen is a wooden, overnight passenger boat that is outdated and historic construction. For years it has been exempted from federal safety laws, but come November 1st the current exemption will lapse if not renewed. That means, no action could take the Delta Queen out of operation and put the future of the Great Steamboat Race in limbo.

"We've got to go back to the drawing board and figure out how we're going to do this event and there's really no book to tell you how to do it because well, it's so unique," Berry said.

Mark Doty is Captain of The Belle of Louisville. He says this year's race could not only end a tradition, but end an era.

"It's called the Great Steamboat Race for a reason, if you didn't have a steamboat in the race then it's not a steam boat race, it's just a riverboat race," said Doty. "We look forward to this race, it is going to be an exciting race (Wednesday). I think Congress will do the right thing and get the boats back together and have a race next year."

According to Berry, getting another steamboat to Louisville could take time if the Delta Queen is not allowed to operate.

"There's not that many steamboats left and to get one who can travel to Louisville and race the Belle of Louisville is a challenge," Berry said. "We've got our fingers crossed."

Berry says there are newer sister boats to the Delta Queen but they are much larger and more powerful than The Belle of Louisville, and he's not sure a race against one of those boats would be fair".

Please add your first and last name, and the city you are from, to this petition by either posting a
comment, or by e-mailing me at


1. John Alton - New Albany, IN
2. Sam Sher - New Albany, IN
3. Nancy Sher - New Albany, IN
4. Michael Conlen - Pensacola, FL
5. Gary L. Kellems - Brandon, FL
6. Julie Gilham - Louisville, KY (Former Belle of Louisville employee)


Sam Sher said...

Good Luck!

Sam Sher, New Albany

John Alton said...

Thanks Sam!

Anonymous said...

Don't give up the ship! Good luck

Jamie said...

Save the Queen! She's a treasure to the area!

John Alton said...

Thanks Jamie for the support. Could you please e-mail me your full name and what city you're in so I can add you to the petition? My e-mail is

Gary Lee Kellems said...

Save the Queen, my how that sounds British. In any case it would simply be wrong and a tragic loss to allow the Delta Queen to be lost, resulting in the loss of the steamboat race tradition.
Gary L Kellems
Brandon FL.

John Alton said...

Thank you for your support in this effort. I agree that it would be a mistake and a tragic loss to lose the Delta Queen and the tradition of the steamboats. There aren't that many of them left, why not try to hold on to as much of the real Americana as we can.

Julie Gilham said...

As a former Belle of Louisville employee I got to know the crew of the Delta Queen well. She deserves many more years to come. For those of you who have not yet got the chance to see her upclose, put it on your to do list...Good luck.

John Alton said...


Thank you so much for your comment, and it's true! These vessels are something to behold, and should be preserved for as long as possible. Could you please see if you could get as many people as possible to add their names to this petition also?

Thank you again,

Sailor Dave said...

Sailor, Dave Kellems