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Bluz Cruz to cast off

Barge and other commercial traffic will be temporarily shut down on the Mississippi River from Tallulah to Vicksburg Saturday morning. The normal traffic will be replaced by an assortment of smaller craft for the 13th annual Bluz Cruz boat race.

The 22-mile race will start at the Madison Parish Port at 9 a.m. and end in Vicksburg with the lead boats expected to arrive between 11 and 11:30 a.m. The first 21-miles will be down the Mississippi River and the final mile will be on the Yazoo diversion canal.

“It can be a paddle board, a pedal type hobie craft, a canoe or a kayak. Any human powered craft is allowed,” Bluz Cruz registration chairman Laura Callaway said.

There are 21 official categories of crafts that can be entered. The top three finishers in each category will be awarded a trophy.

“We have some fairly expensive boats that come to race,” Callaway said. “They are racing boats.”

As of Friday, there were 81 boats, and 101 participants, registered to compete in the race.

Racers will receive a goodie bag with a t-shirt, commemorative glass and safety whistle. They will also receive lunch after the race.

Racers are asked to meet at the former Grand Station Casino parking lot by 7 a.m. Saturday to be taken to the starting point by shuttle.

There is no boat portage provided, but the Bluz Cruz will provide security for racers that wish to bring their crafts to the starting place Friday. 

Registration will be open at Martin’s at Midtown from 2-7 p.m. Friday and boat security will be available at Madison Port starting at 1 p.m.

Registration is open through Friday and costs $60 per boat.