Pumpkinhead is coming!

By Leah – October 4, 2011

Yes, this weekend is Halloween but no, “Pumpkinhead” does not refer to a character from some B-grade horror movie.  It’s the nickname for the 27th annual Head of the Colorado Regatta, hosted by the Austin Rowing Club (ARC), taking place here this Saturday, October 29.

Some 1,000 athletes from all over the United States will be in Austin this weekend to test their mettle on a 5,000 meter rowing course down Lady Bird Lake, from the inlet at Barton Springs to just east of the I-35 bridge at Bird Island.  Spectators can watch from each of the six bridges on the course, and it’s easy to catch a fleeting glimpse of fast boats as you run or walk the trail around the lake.  The race starts at 8 a.m. Saturday and continues non-stop until approximately 4:30 p.m.; a “time trial” format is used, meaning that boats can depart every 15 seconds from the start.  In addition to the rowing, there are a variety of other things to watch, including kayak, Stand Up Paddle (SUP) events, and a special “Row for the Cure” event that benefits Austin’s Komen affiliate.  Texas Rowing for All has several athletes competing in a variety of adaptive categories, such as the singles event for Intellectually Disabled rowers (if you are interested, it’s not too late to contact Debbie McDiarmid for more information).

There’s also a dedication ceremony at noon on Saturday at Festival Beach; the ARC has a new rowing barge, the OneCommand, and there will be festivities to go along with the ceremony.  Come out for rowing demonstrations and words from the Regatta’s sponsors.

With all of those Austin-area rowers participating, chances are good that you may know someone here in town who’s participating.  ARC and Texas Rowing Center combined have 164 out of the total 540 entries (and the oldest participant in the event, Jack Graham, 77 years young,  rows with Austin Rowing Club).  You can check on your friends and find live results here.

With this information in mind, get a start on the festivities this weekend; grab a cup of pumpkin-spiced latte or lace up your running shoes and head out to Lady Bird Lake for a morning stroll and some Pumpkinhead.


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