Bullhead City, AZ: Floaters and demonstrators gathered along the Colorado River for the River Regatta 2018.
Floaters and demonstrators gathered on Saturday, August 11th, 2018 along the Colorado River in Bullhead City, Arizona for the River Regatta 2018.
People from Southern California, Arizona and Nevada arrived at Davis Camp to participate in the River Regatta 2018 event, launching into the Colorado River in their inflatable inner tubes, peacocks, pink flamingos and bulls in route to Community Park in Bullhead City, Arizona.
Well floaters began flowing on the Colorado River, members of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe along with members of the public gathered near the River Regatta 2018 event’s launch area for a demonstration against the events return.
The event returned following controversy during the 2016 river regatta event left large amounts of trash along the shoreline of the Colorado River when event floaters bypassed.
Following the controversy and complaints from the community and members of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, members of the Bullhead City Council voted 4-3 to end the River Regatta event.
But in October 2017, almost a year after ending the event, members of the Bullhead City Council voted 6-1 to accept an offer from Marnell Gaming LLC, the owners of the Edgewater and Colorado Belle casinos to purchase, reinstate and run the river regatta event, restoring the event to cheers by supporters and disappointment by those concerned that the trash mess of 2016 will happen again during this year’s event.
ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez recorded and broadcasted live on Facebook both the demonstration and river regatta floaters as they pass by our cameras.
Demonstrators put on shirts and held signs that read “No Regatta”, and began chanting “No Regatta”, “Save Our Water” and “Water Is Life” at the corner of Bullhead City Parkway and Arizona State Route 95, and on the Laughlin Bridge overlooking the Colorado River.
As floaters began to flow south down the Colorado River, demonstrators chanted “No Regatta” and shouted floaters to pick up after themselves, not to leave trash behind or in the Colorado River.
Some of the floaters shouted back at the demonstrators, saying that they will pick up after themselves and even waved red garbage bags at the demonstrators.
Other floaters shouted back at demonstrators saying that they should clean up the trash after their firework shows and some floaters flipped the bird at demonstrators and even tried to wet the demonstrators.
Despite the exchange of words and flipping of the bird, the demonstration and those participating in the River Regatta 2018 remained peaceful.
As floaters continued to pass by the Laughlin Bridge, demonstrators looked out for floaters not wearing their life jackets and shouting out “You’re Not Wearing A Life Jacket” at those who were spotted not wearing a life jacket.
Authorities on patrol boats and watercrafts, including Bullhead City Police Department, Park Rangers and United States Coast Guard, were seen along the Colorado River watching floaters to make sure they were floating safety down the Colorado River well also keeping watch for participate floaters who were not wearing life jackets.
Well a majority of the floaters were seen wearing life jackets, both in a bright orange and dark colored life jackets, there were a few that were spotted not wear their life jackets.
Those not wearing their life jackets would later put on their life jackets after being spotted by demonstrators and caught by authorities on patrol boats.
As the demonstration came to an end, bird singers from the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe sang along the Laughlin Bridge as floaters continued south to Community Park in Bullhead City, Arizona where the float down the Colorado River event ends.
As the demonstrators headed back to their vehicles, they checked for trash and collected water bottles, leaving behind a clean and no trashed area wheere the demonstration was held.
ZachNews spoke with Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams regarding the “No Regatta” Demonstration and what they wanted organizers of the River Regatta 2018 to know.
ZachNews: How did this all get organized, what brought everybody here to the demonstration?
“What I think brought everybody to the event is that we’re opposed to this event. United in the community in a different way, where there was a lot of not only tribal but non-tribal members that were out here that were in opposition of this event, therefore we wanted to let them know, to let them see and let them hear our voices out here within the areas that they will be participating in,” said Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams.
ZachNews: What are some of the concerns you want the public to know – regarding the event?
“It’s not only the concerns, it’s the treatment to the river; that’s what this event is about, the treatment of the river. That’s what we’re in opposition to. In 2016 when everything went down – the way it went down, and than in 2017 – to have the City officials where they stopped it and then to have it back on in 2018; it’s definitely unfortunate but we want to make sure that we let everybody know that we’re in opposition to this and that there was a lot of things that did not happen; not only in our favor but in the whole Tri-State favor – as far as the treatment of the river goes,” said Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams.
ZachNews: What’s next from this point – after the demonstration?
“Next is gonna be definitely reporting to the Coast Guard. I cannot tell you how many people that did not have life jackets down there. We have to hit this from all different angles; from a cultural perspective, traditional perceptive and then also one of the things the Coast Guard is most concern about is the safety, and so the numbers of people the that you’re gonna probably see online in a short time that did not have life jackets, we’re not following the safety regulations that were put in place. Under the permit; I think it’s going to be something to reckon with but we’re definitely gonna know and show everybody out there how the permit was violated with not only the life jackets, but other ways shapes and forms, and again I hope everybody is able to send us that information. We will like to report it to the proper agencies, and then hopefully we’ll be able to end the Regatta all together in 2019; that is our ultimate goal,” said Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams.
ZachNews: Do you think that the word gotten out there – about the event? Did the demonstration made a a big difference today?
“There’s a number of people, and I think the numbers are what gonna be the telling story. How many people actually floated; was it 20,000 that were participated to come, was the event sold out. If there was any numbers that were well below that, you would have to think that we had something to do with it. All the demonstrations, all the protests, all the social media; all the things we’ve been able to do – just like they have. Again I think I’ve proven by the numbers, that we were definitely successful,” said Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams.
ZachNews: For those who weren’t able to make the demonstration today and they want to participate, what we like to tell them? How can they address their concerns?
“Continue with the letters. Send over… if you go to our website (https://www.fortmojaveindiantribe.com), you’ll be able to see a link that you’re be able to shoot any information that you feel that violate the permit, also or you felt that was wrong, you can send that to us and we’ll make sure that it gets to the proper authorities,” said Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams.
ZachNews: If the organizers and officials who got the event back on are watching this interview, what would you like them to know?
“Stop this event – plain and simple. If we’re truly concerned about protecting the river, stop the event and then we can work together, but stop this event. We cannot have an event that has this many people floating, and just as I seen – just a little while ago – piece of trash goes down, the floater tries to swim over to it, can’t reach it because of the river – the river is too powerful and they don’t know it, therefore he just sit back in his seat – lets the trash go by, and so it’s stuff that I’m hoping that we can work together in a different way. But just listen; listen to our elders, listen to our people, listen to all those who are concern in the valley – in Fort Mohave and Mohave Valley and Needles – everybody that’s downriver, just please listen, that’s we’re asking,” said Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams.
ZachNews: Anything you want to say to those who came out and participated in the demonstration?
“Everybody that came out; we’re just extremely proud of you. We respect you, we’re honorable; where thank you for the way we protested in a positive way. There was nothing negative out here – when it comes to any foul protest. It was a good good day for us to protest, to get our message out there, and I believe we were successful in doing so, but thank you guys. We’re proud of you guys,” said Fort Mojave Indian Tribal Chairman Timothy Williams.
ZachNews contacted Marnell Gaming LLC for a response regarding the “No Regatta” Demonstration and about the event overall, how the event do in attendance this year, what were the reaction from participates in this year’s event and what was done to help keep floaters safe and the Colorado River clean during and after the event.
Marnell Gaming LLC hasn’t yet responsed to our questions but continuing to await their response and will post their response on this news story.
In regards to event attendance, ZachNews is getting reports that the number of people on attendance for the River Regatta 2018 was under 10,500 people, which would be below the ticket ceiling limit and event goal of 22,000 people organizers were hoping for this year.
As for clean up after the event, there’s reports that event crews checked along the shorelines and water of the Colorado River, picking up any garbage or trash found.
ZachNews found these pictures posted on the City of Bullhead City’s Facebook Page showing the Colorado River and shoreline cleaned up with no trash seen.
Overall, the issue over keeping the river clean and if the river regatta event should or should not be held is a big topic for us who live along the Colorado River.
If we use the water for farming, go out on our boat to fish or just play in the water on those very hot days and nights, the water means a lot to us all and if we want to use and enjoy this cool water, remember what your parents taught you, to pick up after yourself.
To those who helped clean up the water and shorelines after the event, thank you for your hard work.
As always, thanks to all of the emergency crews and law enforcement agencies who participate in all events, making sure all is peaceful, safe and protected.
Stay tuned to ZachNews for more news updates regarding the River Regatta event.
** Questions to ZachNews Fans: **
– How do you think this year’s River Regatta event went?
– If you attended the River Regatta 2018 event, how was the event?
– Do you agree or disagree with the concerns and comments made by the people opposing the river regatta event?
– Do you think the river regatta event should end or continue, and why?
– If you lived along the Colorado River, along the river regatta floating route or downstream, did you find any trash after the event or witnesses any problems related to the river regatta event?
** Pictures and Videos from ZachNews: **