Head of the Hooch races begin on Chattanooga Riverfront - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Head of the Hooch races begin on Chattanooga Riverfront

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

What started out as a rowing competition with 500 rowers north of Atlanta in 1981 has grown into one of the largest in the nation and for the past six years its happened right here in the Scenic City.

Its going to be a long, busy and competitive weekend for the nearly nine thousand crew members who will glide across the Tennessee River in the Head of the Hooch.

"It's high school, its college, its international rowers that come to this race," Tennessee Club coach, Guinevere Shaw says.

Thousands of spectators will line the riverfront and the bridges that cross the river. Crew members say the more the better.

"People come from all over the world to attend this race and the more people that come to cheer them on, the better it will be for all these crews that attend," Shaw says. 

Tennessee's club team hopes to be among the top crews to finish. "We want to stand at least in the top ten," says Shaw.

They have a lot of competition including UTC's club team. Head coach Robert Espesuth has been a part of the rowing program and the race for years.

"It was down on the Chattahoochee River, hence the Head of the Hooch, that was always it's nick name," Espesuth says.

Last year the race generated nearly $5 million for the local economy, a trend many hope will continue to grow. "Chattanooga has a very unique situation here where we can have the venue right here, right downtown and the space to do it," says Espesuth.

The Head of the Hooch will continue Sunday with more than a thousand boats on the water.

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