The Secret Magic of Thunder

When it comes to Thunder Over Louisville, there’s a lot to love. The brisk breeze by the Ohio River, copious food and drinks and long-standing traditions of early-morning treks to secure the perfect spot for the evening’s incendiary delights make for the perfect way to kick off the gargantuan Kentucky Derby Festival and pave the way to Derby itself. As the largest fireworks display in North America, Thunder Over Louisville certainly is a sight to behold, and understandably, it’s the fireworks that get all the glory. The truth, however, is that the concerted collaboration of countless other organizations and companies is what truly makes Thunder possible in many ways.

One such often unsung group is CGB Enterprises, Inc., which has been an innovative and progressive leader in the grain and transportation industries since 1970. Today, CGB operates a global enterprise that oversees a diverse family of businesses and provides an array of services for a global base of customers.

image1Headquartered just outside of New Orleans, the CGB operations in Louisville function as a tug harbor service that provides fleeting and shifting of barges to and from the docks in the Louisville harbor and Port of Indiana. More specifically, CGB is responsible for managing the intricate ballet of moving barges on the Ohio, and without their deft touch, Thunder would almost certainly fizzle.

“For our part, we are not involved in the hands-on setup of the show, but we do give consideration in our services to make sure we are available to provide any shifting of barges needed in a timely manner,” says Matt Akins, enthusiastic fleet manager of the Louisville-based CGB operations. “For us, it’s all about safety and efficiency. We want to make sure that, in any aspect, we are a part of that group of people who get their jobs done in the safest and most productive way possible. This will be our fourth year doing Thunder, and we provide shifting of the barges to and from the landing dock, as needed, for the fireworks display.”

In addition to managing the logistics of the “oohs” and “ahs” of Thunder, CGB also assists with Harbor House’s Kentucky Derby event, The Ken-Ducky Derby. It’s a race as cute as it sounds with upward of 25,000 rubber duckies, each sponsored by everyday people who have generously donated to Harbor House and its services, drifting with the current across the Ohio. There is a host of prizes available, and it’s an undiluted dose of family-oriented fun made possible by the under-appreciated efforts of CGB.

As you and your family go out and enjoy the countless activities that are part of the always spectacular Kentucky Derby Festival, remember that it is not always the most prominent showmen of such events as Thunder Over Louisville who make it all possible. The true magic of any production is behind the scenes, beyond what is happening right in the open. And if pay close enough attention, you’ll learn that companies like CGB may just be filled to the brim with that magic.