Tuesday 23 September 2008

the wife of my bosom is recently returned from a week-long adventure in the desert and mountains with her hiking club, and while they were out that way they put a couple of teams into the Henley-On-Todd Regatta. This day-long event is unique the annals of sport. Let me explain. The following photo represents the famous English boating event, the Henley Regatta (pinched from bobflood) (and yes, I did deliberately select one showing a very grey English day.)

"Henley Royal Regatta is a rowing event held every year on the River Thames by the town of Henley-on-Thames, England. The Royal Regatta is sometimes referred to as Henley Regatta, its original name pre-dating Royal patronage. The regatta lasts for 5 days (Wednesday to Sunday) over the first weekend in July. Races are head-to-head knock out competitions, raced over a course of 1 mile, 550 yards (2,112 m). The regatta regularly attracts international crews to race."

This stock photo, on the other hand represents the Henley-On-Todd Regatta:

"The Henley-on-Todd Regatta is a 'boat' race held annually in a dry sandy Todd riverbed in Alice Springs in outback Australia.
From the program:
"Reg Smith was the creator of the Henley-On -Todd in December 1962. The Rotary club of Alice Springs met for a picnic at 16 mile creek, where they discussed ways to raise money for charity over a few beers. Reg came up with the idea of holding a waterless 'Regatta' on the dry bed of the Todd River.

"Okay, what about the boats- do we tow them or push them?"
"Neither," said Reg. "We cut the bottoms out and carry them!"

Picture the vehicles in the Flintstones. "Boats" are made from metal frames and hung with banners and advertisements, and teams of "rowers" run their boats in races through the hot sand. Races are also held in washtubs, and human-sized mouse wheels. The traditional final event of the day is spectacular. It's a naval battle with trucks dressed up as old time galleons, and water and coloured flour and other benign projectiles are fired. (I'm pinching these photos from hike team members John Williams and Ross Williams, not related)

One year, 1993, all the day's activities were cancelled because it rained and the Todd filled up with water.



Blogger Dave Cake said...

I've been living in Alice Springs this year, and I was at the Henley On Todd this year as well.

24 September 2008 at 03:17:00 GMT-5  
Blogger MarkSullivan said...

I love the concept of a "boating" event being called on account of water.

25 September 2008 at 15:17:00 GMT-5  

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