This Saturday, 500 boats carrying 2,000 competitors from 80 different teams will compete in the 25th annual Head of the Ohio rowing regatta on the Allegheny River. It's the third largest rowing regatta in the nation.
The event provides a variety of races for competitors of many ages on the same river, according to Rick Brown, executive director of Three Rivers Rowing, which hosts the 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM event. "The sizes of boats range from singles all the way up to eights, and then in terms of age groups and level of rowing, it really ranges," Brown said. "We have kids that will be racing that have literally started rowing about three weeks ago, all the way to adults that have been rowing for many, many, many years."
Brown said the event is a similar size to its first running in 1986, but he said the sport itself has grown tremendously in that time. As for differences in the 25th running of the races, he said this year's 4,500 meter course is reversed from past years. "It's the same part of the Allegheny river, but the starting line will be down by the Point and the boats will be racing up the Allegheny back towards Washington's Landing, and just past the 31st Street Bridge is where the finish line is," Brown said.
Brown says there is really no bad place to catch the action on the water. "Anywhere along the river that you can see out to the river. Some of the coolest places to watch are probably up above on some of the bridges," Brown said. "You can see the racers coming along and then race right under you. So any of the bridges downtown along the Allegheny River." Brown suggests that the three sisters (6th, 7th, and 9th Street Bridges) or the 16th Street Bridge would provide good vantage points. Other great viewing spots include the walking and bike paths along the river and the wharf at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.