For The Register-Herald
Behind the scenes planners are preparing for the return of power boat racing on Bluestone Lake this summer beginning with the election of Arthur P. Sanda to chair the West Virginia Water Festival Host Committee.
Sanda succeeds Kent Bartgis in leading what both men describe as “a very dedicated, diligent, competent and capable group of volunteers” welcoming the Carolina Virginia Racing Association for a second year of regional racing during the Travis Pond Memorial Regatta the first weekend of June.
Sanda is a retired news and public relations professional who moved to Beckley in 1978 as manager of public relations and government affairs for Eastern Associated Coal. He served on the Raleigh County Republican Party Executive Committee, the boards of directors of the Youth Museum of Southern West Virginia and Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce, Raleigh County Recreation Authority and was president of the New River Parkway Authority.
Currently chairman of the Saint Patrick Catholic Church Finance Committee, Sanda also is a founding-member and secretary-treasurer of the Friars Club, the men’s organization of St. Patrick, and is an organizer of the annual St. Patrick Italian Dinner and the annual Lenten Fish Frys.
Bartgis says he feels very comfortable with the transition of leadership to Sanda.
“With his expertise he will help make hosting the power boat racing even better this year. His professional background makes him very well qualified to lead our host committee.”
Bartgis said his biggest challenge will be sponsorships to raise money for the event.
“Our budget last year was $25,000, and we will need even more funding to support the activities this year. We will need major sponsors, as well as local support.”
Meetings are under way with local, state and federal agencies and all of the host committee subcommittees to prepare for the power racing events. The second annual Travis Pond Memorial Regatta, the Carolina Virginia Racing Association, Region 4 regional races will be held on Bluestone Lake beginning May 31 through the first weekend of June.
Sponsors and volunteers are needed and welcome. For more information, contact the host committee or the Summers County Chamber of Commerce at 304-466-5332, Facebook or the New River Gateway.