Ya gotta regatta! In London, they do it on the Thames. In Boston, they do it on the Charles. In Rockford, they do it on the Rock. It’s the Olympic sport of rowing.
It’s time for the Annual BAIRD Head of the Rock Regatta. This sanctioned U.S. Rowing event, brought to you by the YMCA of the Rock River Valley’s Rowing Club, celebrates its 26th year.
Sunday, Oct. 9, more than 1,700 rowers from throughout the U.S. will gather in Rockford. Many of these rowers were not even born when the first Rockford Regatta took place.
Participants come from more than 60 rowing clubs, high schools and universities, with competition beginning at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. Many of the Big Ten Conference Teams will be participating this year, as well as other Division 1, 2 and 3 schools. To view the teams that will be participating in this year’s event, go to www.regattacentral.com, view the calendar and click on Head of the Rock.
Rowers range from teens to seniors, from novices to masters. There are men’s, women’s and mixed teams.
Spectators won’t be left out as announcers give details on who’s rowing, which team is in front and what it takes to scull. Food, clothing and music vendors, as well as alumni gatherings will be spread throughout the grounds of the race site. Funds raised support the Strong Kids Program and the Rockford Rowing Club.
Saturday, Oct. 8, is an unstructured practice day, but there is a lot to see and do. Most teams arrive by early afternoon and enjoy practicing on the Rock River. The official races are Sunday, Oct. 9, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., starting at Martin Park near the Riverside Boulevard bridge. The course traverses a 2.75-mile stretch down the river and ends at the YMCA Log Lodge. Admission is free for spectators.
Martin Park, The Symbol, Sinnissippi Gardens and anywhere along the east bank of the river, between Riverside Boulevard and Whitman Street, are great viewing spots. Bring picnics, chairs and blankets, and get a spot early to enjoy a relaxing event.
From the Oct. 5-11, 2011, issue