KINGMAN – The Laughlin River Regatta was canceled in 2017 because of trash problems, but came off clean over the weekend, a Mohave County official said Tuesday.
Steve Latoski, director of Public Works, credited Marnell Gaming for fulfilling its contractual obligations to leave Davis Camp in good condition following the annual regatta that drew about 10,000 revelers for a float down the Colorado River.
Anthony Marnell, president of Marnell Gaming, struck a deal in January with the Mohave County Board of Supervisors, promising to clean up Davis Park and staff the regatta with more cleanup crews.
“We knocked it out of the park,” Marnell said Wednesday during an interview with the Daily Miner. “We did everything we said we would and then some. It makes me feel proud.”
Marnell, who owns the Edgewater and Colorado Belle hotel and casino in Laughlin, said he watched the first floater get into the river and last floater get out, and he was most proud of the way they cleaned up after themselves. He saw one floater go back into the water after a plastic bottle got away, and heard floaters tell each other to pick up their trash.
“We can pick up trash. We’re smart and intelligent human beings. We’re not cavemen. I think it’s a positive message for the community. We can do that,” he said.
Latoski noted that past incidents of significant trash left behind by regatta participants occurred mostly around Bullhead City’s community park in 2016. That was the general location of people disembarking from the river.
“I am proud of our talented and dedicated Mohave County Parks staff, under Superintendent John Donovan, who gave working guidance where efficiencies could be gained in Marnell Gaming’s successful delivery of the regatta launch from Davis Camp,” Latoski said in an email to the Daily Miner.
Marnell’s rental agreement was to maintain Davis Camp through 6 p.m. Monday, which enabled Marnell to complete solid waste cleanup and removal through its contractor, Latoski said. Mohave County Parks was satisfied with the scope of Marnell’s solid waste management at Davis Camp throughout the regatta, he added.
Marnell agreed to pay $75,000 to Mohave County Parks for the rental of Davis Camp from Aug. 8-13, including a two-day cleanup. His contractors also picked up 3½ tons of garbage prior to the event, and the cleanup effort will continue throughout the year, he said.
Marnell dedicated 155 people to clean up the mess, including 40 people on boats, 20 people snorkeling and 20 people scuba diving to retrieve trash.
Attendance was down this year to an estimated 10,000, partly due to last year’s cancellation and also because some people felt the $65 ticket was too expensive.
That’s fine because the regatta got too big with some 30,000 floaters in 2016, Marnell said. A good number would be about 17,500.
One woman who attended the 2018 River Regatta posted on Facebook that it was a great event.
“The float was more expensive this year, but I think the folks who really cared about the event and the river were the ones that bought the tickets and kept the rift-raft (sic) out, but for sure the money was put to good use. Good job to all who organized the event and thank you,” the woman said.