The yelling started early on Saturday morning and didn’t let up throughout the weekend.
The second-largest regatta in the nation, Chattanooga’s Head of the Hooch is operated like a well-oiled machine: oars lined up on the hillside, boats stacked on top of each other, food trucks and vendors on the Riverfront.
Riverbend without the music.
Family supporters—decked out in colorful gear—lined up on both the Walnut and Market Street bridges. They rang their collegiate cowbells and screamed in unison for their team or a particular individual.
Unfortunately, it’s unclear whether a team won until results are tallied—sometimes hours after the event. These races are all about beating the clock rather than the boat next to you.
Once finished, the competitors have to physically carry their longboats back up the hill. Their wobbling post-race legs are an indication of the toll this activity takes on the body.
It was estimated that nearly 2,000 boats raced throughout the weekend with up to 9,000 seats. Teams competed in timed races between 2.5 and 3 miles in length over the span of two days.
Daniel Wolff is the regatta director for Head of the Hooch. He said Chattanooga is the perfect host city for the event.
"Chattanooga is very dynamic," he said. "We have reached the limits of what we can do here. Racing starts at the crack of dawn. We’ve come to the point where we have a waiting list."
Average attendance to the race reaches 16,000 annually, with an economic impact of $5.2 million.
Winners included Oklahoma City University in the College Points category. Georgia Tech won the ACC Division, and Chicago’s Lincoln Park Boat Club won the Club Division. Complete results are here.
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