OCU Head of the Oklahoma to go virtual

“Like the Memorial Marathon and other large events, we reached the decision to
forego the single weekend of a large, live event this year”  – Mike Knopp

Oklahoma City University’s Head of the Oklahoma regatta has been selected by USRowing to participate in the USRowing Virtual Fall, an alternative to in-person racing that keeps the competition going even in a year where large gatherings aren’t possible. USRowing is the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States and has invited the nation’s five largest regattas to participate in the virtual series.

“As we were considering the best way to move forward this year, we were honored to be invited to participate in USRowing’s virtual series,” said Mike Knopp, RIVERSPORT executive director. “We also see this as a way to expand our audience. It’s very possible to have people around the world racing with us virtually.”

“We’re also offering some unique live opportunities for our local racing community throughout the month of October including an invitational race for athletes rowing singles on October 3," Knopp said. Corporate and youth singles races will be held later in the month.

"We are hoping to offer OGE NightSprints as part of the virtual package. We want to maintain the momentum we've had for so many years and we know crews across the country come to Oklahoma for the night racing. If we can pull it off, we will." 

OCU Head of the Oklahoma virtual racing will take place on Saturday, October 3, and spectators will be invited to watch online. The advanced virtual racing software will visualize the Oklahoma River online and offer multiple views for spectators as well as sponsor and tourism information for those watching remotely.

Held on the first weekend in October, the Oklahoma Regatta Festival normally includes multiple racing opportunities including the Head of the Oklahoma, OGE NightSprints and Corporate Championships. A festival featuring vendors, family activities and RIVERSPORT adventure activities brings thousands to the event each year.

“Like the Memorial Marathon and other large events, we reached the decision to forego the single weekend of a large, live event this year,” Knopp said.

Instead, RIVERSPORT will be hosting a series of smaller live events during the month of October in addition to the virtual race.

“We did a similar concept during the summer. Instead of hosting the Whitewater Festival on a single weekend, we did a ‘Summer of Whitewater’ which spread the activities over more than a month,” Knopp said. “People still had a chance to enjoy the festival concept, we just didn’t have everyone in the Boathouse District at the same time. It worked really well.”

Instead of the Oklahoma Regatta Festival, RIVERSPORT will host Outdoor October, a month of Saturdays filled with family-friendly outdoor activities including a smaller regional regatta for athletes rowing singles; a special “Dogtober” celebration featuring Bar K, the new dog bar restaurant slated to open in the Boathouse District early next year; mountain biking and pumptrack racing; Oktoberfest beer and food offerings; and a Thrive Outside day filled with learning sessions for outdoor enthusiasts.

The USRowing Virtual Fall series kicks off with the USRowing Virtual Fall Half Marathon presented by Heartline the week of September 14 and will conclude with the Row to Tokyo Challenge November 14-15.  The Head of the Fish (Saratoga), Head of the Hooch (Chattanooga), Head of the Ohio (Pittsburgh), Head and Head of the Schuylkill (Philadelphia) are also participating in the virtual series.

For more information visit riversportokc.org.