Head of Pend Oreille Regatta brings visitors to area

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(Photo by JUDD WILSON) The Head of the Pend Oreille Regatta draws people from around the Northwest to Priest River each year on the last weekend of September.

PRIEST RIVER — Located on the beautiful Pend Oreille River at Priest River, this year’s Head of the Pend Oreille Regatta will take place Sept. 30 at the Priest River Recreation Area (the Mudhole) in Priest River, Idaho. For years now, the last weekend in September has brought rowers from all over Idaho, Washington, and Canada to the Pend Oreille and Priest Rivers for a weekend of rowing competition and fun!

Entry arrivals and rowing practice will take place Friday, Sept. 29 from 2-6 p.m. Safety boats will be on the water.

Saturday, Sept. 30 starts with the 1700 meter HEAD race from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Rowers break for lunch until 3 p.m., when the 1000 meter STAKE race starts, and will wrap up by 5 p.m.

On Sunday, Oct. 1 crews are invited to “Experience the Pend Oreille River” and row with the local Pend Oreille Row and Paddle Association group at the Mudhole at 7 a.m.

From the inception of the HOP, junior rowers have been a visible group of participants. In the first year, there are memories of the young Coeur d’Alene single competitor filled with excitement as he raced for the first time. In 2011, there were five shells with 21 competitors from Coeur d’ Alene Rowing. In 2015, the HOP welcomed junior rowers from the Palouse and Rockies Rowing Club. In 2016, PORPA added a junior and the quickly-formed international mixed eight took first place. All total, there were eight junior shells entered in last year’s HOP.

The HOP 2017 will welcome juniors from the Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association of Port Angeles, Wash. OPRA plans to bring six shells. The Rockies Rowing Club, Coeur d’Alene juniors and PORPA junior, Quinn Barnwell, are all on board again this year. The OPRA addition will make this a very significant platform for junior rowing in the Inland Northwest. So significant is the presence of junior rowers that collegiate scouts are giving serious consideration to being present at the regatta.

More information can be found on the Head of the Pend Oreille Regatta Facebook, Twitter and the website: HOPRegatta.org. For registration and waivers see: https://hopregatta.org/registration.

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