Chris Greene Beats Betsy Ann in 20 Mile Boat Race on Ohio; Thousands Crowd
Wooden and battered Betsy Ann Eats the Smoke of Trim Chris
Greene in 20 Mile Contest; Greene Wins by Two Length; Local Man Commands Betsy
New Richmond, O., July 24
[year not given]—The steel river packet Chris Greene tonight assumed the title
of speed queen of the Ohio River and invested itself with a share in its rich
tradition and racing lore by making the wooden, battered Betsy Ann eat its
smoke in a 20 mile race up the river from Cincinnati.
whistles screaming, her hull trembling from the task and her twin funnels
belching smoke and flames, the newer, finer, larger boat loomed through the
twilight a winner by two lengths after two hours and 25 minutes of excitement
such as the old river had not seen in years.
Recalls Old Days
took old river men back to the old racing heyday of the middle on the Ohio and Mississippi, to the day
when the Robert E. Lee set the present record for the run from New Orleans to St. Louis, and beat the
Natchez by six hours—a day when a conscientious riverman would stand squarely
before the smokestack and part his hair in the middle to trim ship while a big
stake race was on.
left Central Bridge at the foot of Broadway Street in Cincinnati at 5:06 p.m. [;] crowds lined the river front and every
bridge across the stream as they got underway with the Betsy Ann on her rival’s
starboard. Hundreds of launches,
motorboats and small river craft set their sirens screaming as they started up
the stream, swollen by recent rains.
Chris Greene commanded his own boat and took an early lead which he increased
by two lengths at Coney Island
Amusement Park, the half
way point, and to 800 feet at New Palestine, but Captain Charles Ellsworth of Parkersburg, W. Va., cut that down to two lengths again three miles
from the finish.
of spectators lined the banks all the way, cheering the racers, and faster,
smaller craft pursed them all the way with a din of whistles. Airplanes soared overhead and then returned
flying fields for more loads of passengers.
The calliope on the Island Queen started to play “Old Man River,” and
hastened to the finish line, their automobiles thronging the roads into
Richmond as the cry of “here they come” went up with their boilers straining
until it seemed they must burst and the signals set at full speed ahead, the
boats went for the finish line and the Chris Greene barely got there
was engendered by a boast of Captain Greene that his boat could beat the Betsy
Ann “anytime,” after reading press reports of a victory of the Betsy over his
boat last week. He claimed his ship had
been four miles ahead of Betsy Ann and had given up the race, allowing her to
go ahead on their daily run up the river.
Frederick Way, of
and Cincinnati Packet lines, owners of the Betsy Ann, took up the challenge and
offered the gilt elk horns, won and defended by the Betsy Ann in many a hard
fought race on the Mississippi
and the Louisiana
bayous in the earlier days as a trophy for the victor.
Ann was launched in 1915 and measures 170 feet by 35. She carried 150 passengers today while the
Chris Greene, built in 1924 and measuring 180 feet by 42, carried 250. Hundreds of others fairly fought for the
privilege of lining their rails during the race. Neither boat was stripped.
M.O. Irwin of the Steamer Senator Cordill, Pittsburgh, telegraphed a challenge to the
winner before the race, offering to deposit $500 with his crew to put up a like
amount as a wager on the outcome.
Rivermen hope for a renewal of the brave old days when frequent races
decided the supremacy of the stream.