The Head of the Chattahoochee is a rowing regatta held in Chattanooga, TN every year on the first Saturday and Sunday of November.
The Head of the Hooch is one of the world’s largest rowing regattas, with 2,000+ boats racing over two days. More than 9,000 seats are rowed. 1,200 boats compete on Saturday alone, more in one day than any other regatta. Participants come from over 200 different organizations and in 2012 the regatta welcomed crews from 27 different states. The Head of the Hooch has seen a growth in entries from other countries. The regatta has hosted teams from Canada, Germany, Sweden and Australia.
The Head of the Hooch has been recognized by national magazines as the regatta to attend: the weather is nice, the city is great and the racing has the largest number of entries per event of any major regatta. The regatta is organized and hosted by the Atlanta Rowing Club, Roswell, GA and Lookout Rowing Club, Chattanooga, TN.
The regatta is a head race – competitors row a 5,000-meter (3.1 mile) course on the Tennessee River ending at Ross’s Landing Park in Chattanooga. Head races are typically held in the fall. In this form of racing all boats start sequentially by event and race against the clock.
The Head of the Hooch encourages all participating organizations/schools/clubs to be members of the US Rowing Association. To become a member of USRowing please contact: US Rowing, Membership Services, 2 Wall Street, Princeton, NJ 08540 (1-800-314-4ROW)
History of the Hooch
The Head of the Hooch, also known as the Head of the Chattahoochee and ‘The Last of the Great Fall Regattas’, was run for the first time in 1982 by the Atlanta Rowing Club. The first year there were 225 rowers filling 105 boats. For 16 years the regatta took place on the Chattahoochee River in the Roswell River Park located in Roswell GA. In 1997 the regatta had outgrown the park. From 1997-2004 the regatta was held at the 1996 Olympic rowing venue in Gainesville GA. The course there was located on the upper part of the Chattahoochee River.
In 2005, due to the large increases in entries each year, the regatta moved to the Chattanooga Ross’s Landing Riverfront venue. The venue and city have the capability to accommodate the continuous increase in rowers and spectators each year. Each year since 2005 The Hooch and the City of Chattanooga have welcomed over 6000 rowers and more than 15,000 spectators.
The Hooch is a unique event. It attracts athletes, family, alumni, local residents and those who travel to attend. It combines a rowing regatta, arts market and the close proximity of the Tennessee Aquarium, the Discovery Museum and Hunter Art Museum all within walking distance of the venue. Many hotels and restaurants are right in the downtown close to the venue. In all, a perfect match.
As the Hooch moves through its third decade, its director and committee members continue to improve, grow and enhance the regatta that started as a small event on a Saturday many years ago.
The Hooch in numbers
In 2015, the Chattanooga Sports & Events Committee estimated the economic impact of the Hooch over 5 million dollars. That year the Head of the Hooch raced 1256 boats (37 events) on Saturday and 862 boats (43 events) on Sunday. Almost 80% of the competitors are High School/College crews.
See the 10 years Hooch Info-graphic for the growth of the Head of the Hooch from 2005-2014.
‘Head of the Hooch’, ‘Head of the Chattahoochee’, ‘HoochNooga’ and ‘The Last of the Great Fall Regattas’ are registered trademarks of the Atlanta Rowing Club, PO. Box 500937, Atlanta, GA 31150-0937.