MARBLE FALLS — A large crowd wowed by drag-boat races on the “liquid-quarter mile” and the chance to beat a world record have officials already making plans for next year’s LakeFest.
Meanwhile, this past weekend’s annual drag-boat races are being hailed as a success, officials indicated.
“Weather conditions could not have been any better on Saturday (Aug. 13), and the crowd reflected that,” said Christian Fletcher, executive director of the Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the races.
The 20th edition of the annual drag-boat races held Aug. 12-14 on Lake Marble Falls featured a purse totaling more than $100,000, sponsored by Lucas Oil, officials said.
The popularity of the races had Fletcher predicting they will return next year to Marble Falls.
More than 100 minor illnesses including heat-related conditions were reported, and one boat driver was injured during a crash, officials said.
There are no figures yet for attendance yet for this year, but in the past LakeFest has attracted an audience of 9,000-12,000, according to the Chamber.
“We are not even close to being able to report (this year’s crowd size) with any measure of accuracy,” Fletcher said Aug. 15.
More than 100 drivers raced their boats at speeds of more than 200 mph over a course on Lake Marble Falls at Lakeside Park.
One driver set a world record during the competition, which included several races extending more than 300 yards. Some have dubbed the course the “liquid-quarter mile.”
While piloting his boat “Problem Child,” Daryl Ehrlich of Round Rock set the record, racing at 258 mph to a winning finish in about 3 seconds.
Cloudy skies and scattered showers near the lake kept temperatures below 100 degrees during Aug. 13, Fletcher said.
Also, many spectators watched the races beneath a large, sheltering solar-screen in Lakeside Park.
The screen helped reduce the number of people who needed medical attention, according to Johnny Campbell, operations director for Marble Falls Area EMS Inc.
“It helped out a lot,” Campbell said.
However, 100-degree temperatures returned Aug. 14 during the last day of the races.
“Sunday was substantially warmer, and we had a smaller crowd,” Fletcher said. “But Sundays (during Lakefest ) are nearly always lighter than Saturdays anyway.”
EMS personnel treated more than 120 attendees at the first-aid tent during the festival, Campbell said.
Most cases involved ant-bites, blisters, headaches and other minor illnesses, he added.
However, EMS did rush one driver to South Austin Medical Center for injuries suffered during a boat collision Friday, he said.
The driver was released the following day, Campbell said.
“He was OK,” he added.
Also, EMS took one other patient to a medical facility during LakeFest.
“It may have been a cardiac-related event,” Campbell said. “We haven’t received any feedback on him yet.”
The majority of medically related incidents occurred on Aug. 14 during hot weather, he added.