Arkansas Boathouse Club Announces Inaugural Six Bridges Regatta


First held in 1882, Little Rock’s annual regatta was a premier rowing event for clubs throughout the South, primarily because of the world class waters of the Arkansas River and the social atmosphere surrounding it.

This year, the Arkansas Boathouse Club brings back the tradition with its inaugural Six Bridges Regatta, a national race on the Arkansas River, hosting US Rowing registered event all day Saturday, August 30, 2014 (the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend). The event marks the first time for the regatta on the Arkansas River since 1938.

Lynette Watts, one of the regatta directors, said the Arkansas Boathouse Club hired consultant to offer advice on developing an annual rowing race along the Arkansas River from near the Burns Park  canoe put in area, ending just under the Junction Bridge.

“With the straight [race route], trails and restaurants on both sides of the river and the bridges, we are sitting here just waiting for this [regatta] to happen,” Watts said the consultant told the group of organizers.

This year’s inaugural event will be a competitive rowing event with US Rowing officials on the course and overseeing timekeeping. Teams will put in and take out on the main municipal dock ramps in North Little Rock. Organizers say they expect men’s and women’s teams, collegiate teams and youth teams to compete, allowing for as many as 64 races on August 30.

The event will be managed from the Arkansas Boathouse Club’s boathouse, on Riverfront Drive in North Little Rock, with the facility serving as the hub for all regatta activities.

The club was re-established in 2006. Previously, the club enjoyed a long history on the river from 1882-1945. During those years, an annual regatta was held on the river with accompanying swimming and diving events and a debutante ball. The newly revitalized event, which will include several smaller events, will focus on hosting a regional regatta for clubs and universities in the central US. The hope is over time, the Six Bridges Regatta will attract rowing clubs from throughout the country.

The Arkansas Boathouse Club aims to provide safe opportunities for recreational and competitive rowing in the state and to teach and its ideals of teamwork, physical fitness, river knowledge and sportsmanship. The club rows from March through November on the Arkansas River from the North Little Rock Boathouse and at Lake Maumelle from Jolly Roger’s Marina.

The Six Bridges Regatta directors:

Honorary Chairs: Beth and Mike Coulson

Directors: Lawrence Finn and Lynette Watts

Race Director: Yates Phillips

Course Directors: Ellen and Jack Sullivan

Land Director: Lisa Jackson

Government Relations: Larry Crane

Communications Directors: Traci Berry and Margaret Ellibee

Volunteer Director: Kathy Findley

Registration: Lorrie Barr

Six Bridges Regatta sponsors, so far, are The Coulson Foundation, Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, North Little Rock Visitors Bureau, the City of North Little Rock, StoneWard and Mick Wiggins.

Mick Wiggins is a free-lance illustrator who specializes in editorial and book cover art, and he has produced a poster for the inaugural event that is a knockout. You can see it below.

arkansas boathouse club 6 bridges regatta main

Tags: , ,