American Queen Steamboat Company, operator of the most opulent riverboats in the world, will participate in the 2018 Great Steamboat Race in Louisville on May 2, 2018. The U.S.-flagged American Duchess, the first all-suite paddlewheeler on U.S. waters, will race alongside Belle of Louisville and Belle of Cincinnati on the Ohio River in a competition that’s been held annually since 1963.
The Great Steamboat Race is a 14-mile course on the Ohio River that starts and finishes at the Clark Memorial Bridge, which crosses the Ohio River between Louisville, Kentucky, and Jeffersonville, Indiana. The winner will be determined by the first boat to cross the finish line and presented with the traditional set of 12-point Silver Antlers at the post-race ceremony.
“The Great Steamboat Race is such a fun Kentucky Derby Festival tradition and American Queen Steamboat Company is thrilled to be participating again with our newest riverboat, American Duchess,” said John Waggoner, chairman and CEO of American Queen Steamboat Company and board member of the Kentucky Derby. “This is an exciting time of the year in Kentucky with racing on everybody’s mind, and we’re glad to play a part in keeping the tradition alive.”
Representatives of the Kentucky Derby Festival and guests will enjoy a special single-barrel Four Roses Bourbon tasting. Boarding for the Great Steamboat Race will take place from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. with all the boats departing the shore at 5:45 for a 6 p.m. start.
The 166-guest American Duchess sails Mississippi River itineraries that showcase the history and beauty of America’s heartland including New Orleans, Memphis, Louisville, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Nashville, and Chicago.
Photos: American Queen Steamboat Company