head of the fish, rowing, regatta

Original and novel regatta prize ideas

There’s a great discussion growing on the Masters Rowing International Facebook page.  It’s all about what prizes should be awarded at regattas and who was delighted or bored with the current offerings. Please join the group and invite your friends. 

Do we need more fun prizes at regattas?

The thread started with this

Something more practical would be fun. There are running races where they give out gift certificates and cash prizes! We could do the same at regattas.

head of the fish, rowing, regatta

Head of the Fish prize

These regattas give non-standard prizes

  • Head of the Fish award fish heads (obviously)
  • Stonewall Regatta in Washington DC – bottles of wine
  • Navy Day (head race) in Philadelphia gives mugs
  • Basel head in Switzerland, they introduced an optional open sprint in the morning when crews were rowing the course. First prize was a night in a very nice hotel by the river.
  • Rockrimmon in Springfield MA awards steaks for 1st, pie for 2nd, and cheese for 3rd (non-meat eaters can choose alternate)
  • Pineapple Regatta hosted by Gentle Giant that awards fresh pineapple for 1st, dried pineapple for 2nd, and canned for 3rd.
  • The Dillon Challenge Regatta in Frisco, CO has a raffle. Prizes are donations from local businesses (cheap advertising) like cafe gift cards are discount coupons, and the money collected for raffle tickets goes to the club.

    Stourport pottery

    Stourport pottery

  • Head of the Creek in Vancouver the prizes are cakes. everybody rows harder for cake, right?
  • One of the head races on the Cam (Cambridge UK) we won a gift voucher from one of the kit manufacturers and it was the best thing
  • Warrington (UK) have been known to give t-shirts (size guessing issues),
  • Stourport (UK) have some lovely local mugs made of pottery (it’s a pottery town)
  • At Regattas in Perth Australia, they gave out glasses with the clubs logo on them…so useful!
  • Capital Rowing Club awarded mini wrenches tied with red, white and blue ribbons
  • We’ve gotten beer steins at regattas in the Woodlands (Texas)
  • Rural Henley in Oregon; they have a “stake race” where winners get actual steaks, plus nice customized platters for them.
  • My most treasured rewards are the watches I’ve won at the Independence Day Regatta in Philadelphia (US)
  • Green Mountain Regatta (CA) 1st: jug of maple syrup 🍁 2nd: bag of apples 🍎 3rd: gallon of apple cider

Here’s a list of alternatives suggested

  • Maybe some “gymkhana” features in the regatta (dressage??).
  • A proper “presenter” and make it a fully-grown show!
  • Don’t forget the fund-raising side (and some donations for selected charities).

    sparkleduck

    A “sparkleduck”

  • Maybe fun booby prizes for foul-ups. The best crash, or someone falling into the water, which can happen in bad weather, or at a stake turn. Most foul mouthed coxswain, or most saintly clean-mouthed cox.
  • Cakes with medals baked inside (like Christmas Pudding sixpences)
  •  I tried to pull together a local “fun” race a few summers ago – first place prize was a sparkleduck (rubber ducky made up like a unicorn)
  • Waterbottles, rigger jiggers, keyings, car stickers and socks have also been bulk-regatta prize purchases from Rock the Boat Rowing (thanks Di!).
  • Most creative crew name / costumes? Era of TV shows (60s, 70s, etc), or movies (James Bond), Disney, reptiles, mammals, etc. Name the crew and dress appropriately. Oldest rower, youngest rower.

And reasons for medals versus pots

  • Also, if you’re going to reward the first, second and third crews, as is normal these days, medals make more sense.

    Rowing medal, Tonia Williams, designer medal

    Tonia Williams designed medals for rowing regattas

  • I remember my disappointment when I received a bottle of wine instead of a medal for one of my first wins. I had never been an athlete, so this was huge for me. A bottle of wine was a real let down; I wanted something to clink with encouragement!
  • I have no more room for any more bloody pots and tankards! I would much rather receive something useful like a t-shirt

OK hive mind…. what could / should regattas do for original prizes?

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