Frequently Asked Questions

Even if you've attended the Regatta in the past, you might have a question or two that you've always wondered about. Here, we've compiled some of those we are frequently asked.

Q: What is the Head of the Regatta?
A: It is a head race of 6,000 meters (2.7 miles) from the Martin Park start line to the YMCA finish line. Head races start in single file in short intervals and race against the clock but often provide head-to-head competition at the finish line.

Q: When was the first Rockford Regatta Race?
A: The event began in 1985 as a challenge match between the University of Wisconsin and Northwestern University. The original match was conceived by local Rockford rowers, Rob Espeseth (a U.S. Olympian) and Dennis Kaderabek. The Head of the Regatta has grown over the past 27 years into one of the Midwest's premier rowing events. The Head of the Rock is a sanctioned event of the United States Rowing Association, requiring the observance of USRA race protocol.

Q: What is USRA?
A: USRowing is a nonprofit membership organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the national governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. USRowing selects, trains and manages the teams that represent the U.S. in international competition including the world championships, Pan American Games and Olympics.

More than 16,000 individuals and 1,100 organizations strong, USRowing serves and promotes the sport on all levels of competition. USRowing membership reflects the spectrum of American rowers – juniors, collegians, masters and those who row for recreation, competition or fitness.

Q: Who participates in the Regatta?
A: There are 65 teams with 1,700 participants. 17 Collegiate teams are represented with 11 officials from USRA. 5,000 spectators attend from Rockford and the surroundings areas.

Q: Who coordinates this event?
A: This event is produced by the Rowing Club of the YMCA, including its 40 member volunteers with support from the YMCA. Robert W. Baird & Co. has been the official sponsor the last eight years of the event.

Q: Does it cost money to attend the Regatta?
A: No fees are collected from the over 5,000 spectators.

Q: Who are the Regatta rowers?
A: The group of 1,700 rowers come from over 11 states and more than 60 rowing clubs, high schools and universities.

Q: Where is the race held?
A: At the Rockford YMCA, along the Rock Rive. Click here to find exact directions and the best location to view the race.

Q: What is the Baird V.I.P. Event?
A: The Baird V.I.P. Event is hosted by Robert W. Baird & Co.'s Rockford office and is invitation only for clients and guests. The event will be held at Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens, 1354 North Second Street in Rockford, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Refreshments and light hors d'oeuvres will be served. Complimentary tours of the conservatory will be available. Please call Erin Calkins at (815) 636-5200 or email by Wednesday, October 3, 2012, to reserve your space.