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New Key West Race Organization

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Old 12-06-2003, 12:35 AM
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Default New Key West Race Organization

PRESS RELEASE

Conch Republic Offshore Powerboat Racing Association

For more information contact:

William B. Spottswood (305) 294-9556

Mark Rossi (305) 294-4890



12/5/2003 1:52:52 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Key's Business Leaders Look to

Save Powerboat Racing



KEY WEST -- A group of prominent Lower Keys business people have formed a non-profit organization to oversee and promote powerboat racing in the waters off Key West and the Lower Keys.

The Conch Republic Offshore Powerboat Racing Association (CROPRA) -- led by long-time local attorney and businessman Bill Spottswood -- hopes to return stability to racing in the Florida Keys much like Key West business people have done over the years with Fantasy Fest.

"Powerboat races in the Florida Keys have become too important to our economy to not know from year to year if, when or where we are going to have them," said Spottswood. "Do we want to get involved? No. But we feel like the time has come for the business leaders to step up and ensure the survival of the sport in Monroe County."

A cross-section of Key West's hospitality, entertainment, financial and business communities is joining CROPRA, including local bar owner Mark Rossi and Certified Public Accountant Randy Moore - serving as vice president and treasurer, respectively.

Others stepping up to fill seats on the board of directors include Historic Tours of America founder Ed Swift, First State Bank's Kurt Lewin, Shades of Key West owner Barry Gibson, Island City Flying Service co-owner Paul dePoo, car dealer Jack Niles, CPA Johnny Parks, local builder Larry Bliel, hotelier Michael Knowles, Sloppy Joe's Bar co-owner Heather Rodger and printer Scott Curry.

Races throughout the Keys have suffered in recent years due struggles between race promoters and national sanctioning bodies resulting in lagging interest from locals and visitors.

Tourism industry members estimated a 30- to 40-percent drop in visitors and spending this year in Key West related to those factors, severely curtailing the overall economic impact on the city.

Spottswood said one of the major concerns was that this year, because of infighting between promoters, racers, national race organizations and the business community, leaders didn't know until two weeks before the Key West races whether or not people were going to show up.

"The sport has become so fractious over the years and is so important to our community that we felt it was time for an independent group to get involved," Spottswood said. "Rather than being exclusionary, we want to be all-inclusive. Key West has been one of the most sought-after venues in powerboat racing for almost 90 years. We want everybody to feel they are welcome to come race, stay and enjoy our island city. Big boats, little boats. We don't care. We want them all. But more importantly, we want to continue the tradition of great racing that has brought competitors to the Florida Keys since 1917."

Spottswood, Curry, Parks and Murray were original members of the CROPRA and bring more than 20 years of racing and promotional experience to the table including events in Key West and the Lower Florida Keys.

"The name comes from a group that was formed nearly 20 years ago to do the same thing," Spottswood said. "But it went into hibernation after it looked like the community was doing well with the races. Now it's time to pull the old jackets out of the closet, dust them off and zip them up. There will be powerboat races in Key West for years to come."
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Old 12-06-2003, 08:29 AM
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How Ya been XS? How is the boat running ?

WOW! This should be very interesting. I'm down the Keys atleast 2 times a year. I'll have to keep an eye out for any schedules. Keep us informed.
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Old 12-06-2003, 10:04 AM
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That sounds like the best thing they could have done, and with what happened this year you cant blame t hem for doing such a thing to make sure the races continue.
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Old 12-06-2003, 10:50 AM
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Is Lee Mills out of the deal? Just asking.........BH
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Old 12-06-2003, 11:29 AM
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Hey there XS;
I was reading that in the paper this A.M. That group can't hurt and should have stayed active all along. Doesn't someone need a pilot down there yet?
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Old 12-06-2003, 12:58 PM
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Brian, Lee Mills is not part of the new organization.

Chuck, same old pilots are still around but I guess this is a good thing.

Cap071 the boat is great even though I don't use it as much as I would like.
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