Regatta Spotlight: Music City Head Race

Rowers from across the Southeast will gather in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, this weekend for the third annual Music City Head Race. What began as a Tennessee-heavy event, has rapidly grown into one of the largest head races of the early fall. The regatta is this Saturday, October 13, on the Cumberland River and is hosted by Nashville Rowing and Vanderbilt Rowing.

“It started as a local scrimmage,” said Cory Sanderson of Nashville Rowing. “We really have a great venue running right through downtown Nashville, with the finish line right across from Nissan Stadium where the NFL’s Tennessee Titans play. We can utilize the parking lots of the stadium and launch from that side of the river, so scaling our event up is pretty easy. ”

With tourism in Nashville quickly growing in popularity, registration for the regatta has also increased steadily throughout the years.

“It’s an exciting city, there is a lot happening and growing down here. We are looking forward to growing this regatta to where people will come and really make a weekend out of it. Three years ago, there were mainly Tennessee and college teams from the northern Southeast region. Last year we had 278 entries and about 30 clubs, and this year we have just over 500 entries and 45 clubs. There’s masters, collegiate and junior racing, really just a good mix of all of them. We are excited to see both returning, and new teams racing this year.”

With the downtown of Nashville nestled along the Cumberland, the 5,000-meter course runs East to West and finishes right on the city’s main-drag, Broadway.

“The race goes with the current and is a fairly straight course,” Sanderson said. Though don’t mistake the venue for having an easy course as, “crews will have to navigate through some turns and a couple of bridges along the way.”

More growth is on the way for the event and for rowing in the Nashville area.

“After last year, we really committed to growing the regatta and we were lucky enough to get a dock donated to accommodate the new entries. We are also in the planning stages of building a community boathouse together with the city, which will be part of a new park downtown on the Cumberland. With a pedestrian bridge that goes right over the last 250 meters of the race, spectators can easily see the last 1,000 meters of the race. It’s a spectator-friendly venue, and we are excited to see more folks out there both on the water and on land.”

Photos courtesy of Nashville Rowing.

Interested in having your USRowing Registered Regatta featured in our Regatta Spotlight? Reach out to USRowing Referee and Member Programs Manager, Jules Zane, at with the subject line “USRowing Registered Regatta Spotlight.”

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