UPDATE: Head of the Hooch brings in over $5 million for the city
Head of the Hooch, one of the world's largest rowing regattas, returns to Chattanooga on Saturday Nov. 5, and Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016.
UPDATE: The head of the Hooch wrapped up this weekend, with another successful year.
More than 10,000 people from 26 states and four countries, and various age groups, competed this weekend. This year's course led competitors about three miles across the Tennessee River, and ending at Ross's Landing.
The Chattanooga Convention and Visitor's Bureau president told Channel 3, the event boosts the local economy by more than $5 million.
An annual success, Regatta Director, Daniel Wolff said gets better every year.
"We've never thought of us wanting to become a bigger Regatta, we want to become a better Regatta, and that attracts the rowers, the parents you know the coaches. Everybody comes here because they just love it and they love the event. So it sort of grows organically," Wolff said.
But he said there are several other factors that play a part in the event's success.
"The weather and all the other amenities that we have in the city make a big difference, and it all comes together. We have so much support from the city, from the people who live here, from different organizations and it's just fantastic. We love it," Wolff said.
The thousands of people cheering on the athletes seem to love it too, but the city itself may love it most, with the huge boost in economy that comes with the popular event.
But the Chattanooga Riverfront was not the only spot downtown that got to witness this weekend's action. Local business like, Chattz, were busy serving athletes and families as well.
The business is usually closed on Sunday's, but that wasn't the case this weekend.
"We just try to stay in touch with the community's major events and what not, and just be here to serve coffee and food and whatever when they need it. It's been fun. It's been kind of chaotic, but it's always just good business," Chattz cashier, Samul Huston said.
A busy day that begs the question; will the store do it again next year?
"Oh yes, we look forward to next year we're already planning it." Huston said. "They already have have the dates on the calendar in the office and what not, so we know what's happening in advance and definitely prepare for it and look forward to it."
Early planning the head of the hooch organizers know all too well.
"We're 100 percent volunteer. We don't have paid staff, so it's a lot of work. Once we go back home after this weekend we do a wrap up or a debrief to find out what worked, what didn't work, what we can improve and then do things better, then it's off to 2017," Wolff said.
Another regatta everyone in the Scenic City and around the world is looking forward to.
For more information and results on this years Head of the Hooch, click here.
PREVIOUS STORY: Thousands of people are competing in the Head of the Hooch in Downtown Chattanooga. The rowing regatta started on Saturday and it's considered to be one of the largest in the world.
The event brings in people from all over who hope to take home some medals.
"When you think of the fall, it's like the Super Bowl for the fall," Ovi Kabir, a rower at the University of Tennessee said.
The stakes are high with more than 10,000 people from 26 states and 4 countries competing in the Head of the Hooch regatta. Throughout the weekend, competitors will row 5,000 meters or 3.1 miles on the Tennessee River and finish at Ross's Landing.
"Rowing is just one of those things where you can always just push yourself hard. There's always room for improvement. It's a really big test of how much guts you really got. That's what i like about it," Matthew Freeburg, a rower at the University of South Florida said.
Matthew Freeburg is part of the University of South Florida's rowing team. He said it's a tradition to compete in this regatta.
Freeburg emphasized the importance of teamwork.
"If one person is out of line, everyone is out of line, so we all got to work together to get the boat moving together. Without teamwork, you don't got nothing," Freeburg said.
The athletes' ages are just as diverse as where they're from.
The regatta's director, Daniel Wolff, said some of the competitors are as young as high school students. He said months of planning go into making sure the Head of the Hooch runs smoothly.
"It's almost like a year round planning. As soon as the regatta is over on Sunday, we're already planning for next year's regatta. There's a lot of pieces that have to fall into place," Daniel Wolff, the regatta's director said.
Each race starts just seconds apart since more than 2,000 boats need to hit the Tennessee River before the end of the weekend.
"We're really excited out here. Every team out here is going to be good and hopefully we'll do our best and try and bring some medals back," Kabir said.
The Chattanooga Convention and Visitor's Bureau President said the event boosts the local economy by more than $5 million. The regatta will continue until Sunday afternoon.
PREVIOUS STORY: Thousands of people are expected to attend this year's Head of the Hooch and set up is already underway for one of the largest rowing regattas in the United States.
Chattanooga is gearing up for a big weekend on the Tennessee River, about 10,000 athletes will compete in one of the last races of the rowing season.
Armando Chavez Jr. travels from Atlanta, this is his eighth Head of the Hooch.
"There's not a lot of big regattas in the south. It's a great opportunity for teams to come down here and get good competition, and great weather like we're having today. It's a fun regatta, but it's also competitive,” Chavez Jr. said.
Chavez Jr. says the water is usually calm which makes for an even more competitive environment.
"There's a lot of history behind the regatta, teams that have been here before want to come back and it's almost a self-fulfilling prophecy we have so many teams that come that you want to be here you want to be one of those teams,” Chavez Jr. explained.
This year Chavez Jr. will compete in four different events, including the championship double with his father, Armando Chavez Sr., who competed in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
"In fact to see him to be much better than I have ever and now he's pulling me,” Chavez Sr. said.
The father and son duo came in 6th place last year, this time they're aiming to win.
"He's really been my inspiration that's why I started rowing. So I always growing up try one day and it's great to be able to still get to do it with him,” Chavez Jr. said.
More than 1,200 boats will compete on Saturday alone, that's more in one day than any other regatta.
While there will be plenty to watch on the river, there will also be lots of activity for cash registers around the valley.
The Chattanooga Convention & Visitor’s Bureau President, Bob Doak estimates the event boosts the local economy by 5.6 million dollars.
"It exemplifies what Chattanooga is, it's a great city downtown surrounded by some of the most god given beauty that you could ever find,” Doak said.
For some, rowing in the Tennessee Valley is a prize in itself, especially when your team includes your son.
"Just the fact that you can do something you love with your son, a sport that is healthy, sport that is good for you. I can't trade that for anything else,” Chavez Sr. said.
Some roads will be closed for the Head of the Hooch. If you're headed out near Riverfront Parkway. Detours are in place and parts of riverfront parkway are closed. The ramp from Veterans Bridge, and parts of Chestnut Street and Power Alley are also closed. All roads will open back up on Sunday at 8 p.m.
ORIGINAL STORY: Head of the Hooch, one of the world's largest rowing regattas, returns to Chattanooga on Saturday Nov. 5, and Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016.
Participants will row 3.1 miles down the Tennessee River, ending at Ross's Landing Park.
The event brings together more than 2,000 boats over the two-day period, with 1,2000 boats expected on Saturday alone.
9,000 athletes from all across the country are expected to compete in the rowing competition, and about 15,000 spectators are set to cheer them on.
The Head of the Hooch event is also a big boost for the local economy in Chattanooga.
Chattanooga's Sports and Events Committee estimates the weekend brought in around 5 million dollars to the city in 2015.