Will they float? Regatta takes off on  the Tickfaw May 25

Photo provided by LEESHA GLEBER -- Johnathan Whitman, left, and Orlando Casas work on the homemade boat they'll be taking to the first Tickfaw River Redneck Regatta.
Photo provided by LEESHA GLEBER -- Johnathan Whitman, left, and Orlando Casas work on the homemade boat they'll be taking to the first Tickfaw River Redneck Regatta.

Taking part in one homemade boat race was enough to hook Leesha Gleber.

“It was so much fun that mid-river, I was like, ‘I’ve got to do this at home,’” Gleber, of Holden, said of that race last summer on the Ouachita River.

Back home, Gleber pitched her idea to her boss, Livingston Parish News publisher Jeff David, and then to Eric Edwards, executive director of the Livingston Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau. Both liked the plan and agreed to sponsor it, so Gleber, advertising director at the paper, got to work on the inaugural Tickfaw River Redneck Regatta.

Yes, the name was her idea, too.

“That’s all me,” she said, laughing.

From there, Gleber said she went to town council meetings, to fire departments, and to Wildlife and Fisheries.

“As a professional courtesy, just to let them know about the event coming to their back yard,” she said. “Everybody is on board, and actually I’m getting a lot of volunteer help from those entities as well.”

Around 15 boats are confirmed for the race. The event in Columbia last summer was very small, she said.

“That’s why I was thinking I’m fixing to blow this out of the water down here. Our waterways are some of our main attractions, to go have fun.”

All the fun starts at 2 p.m. at the public boat launch off La. 22 at the foot of the bridge by Boopalu’s in Springfield.

The rules are simple: the boat can’t have commercial hulls, and must be human powered. That’s it.

“They’re going to buoy off a channel not longer than about 150 yards,” Gleber said. “From my experience, a lot of them are going to go down quickly.”

Although the first boat to make it through the channel is the official winner, every boat contestant will get a prize, she said.

After the race, a pirate costume contest is planned. Entering or viewing the race or the costume contest is free. T-shirts and ladies’ tank tops will be for sale with profits going to the News’ Newspapers in Education program.

Those entering the race that day should be there by 1:30 p.m. to fill out the necessary paperwork, Gleber said.