Kansas Rowing Excited to Host Jayhawk Jamboree

LAWRENCE, Kan.- Kansas rowing is looking to revive a bit of history when the team hosts the Jayhawk Jamboree on Sunday, Oct. 20 at Burcham Park at 200 Indiana St., bringing to life the Western National Fair that was held on the banks of the Kansas River in Lawrence during the late 19th century. 

The Western National Fair, held at Bismarck Grove (current site of the University of Kansas boathouse), annually attracted between 8,000 and 10,000 people to the river. This grand event, also known as the Old Bismarck Festival, hosted many picnics, parties, church encampments, temperance movements and, of course, one epic rowing regatta.

The regatta at the Western National Fair was said to be the largest rowing event west of the Mississippi River. That fact alone was enough motivation for the Jayhawks to try and revive that same culture that once existed in Lawrence.

The Jayhawks are more than ready to host their first home event since the creation of the University of Kansas Boathouse at Burcham Park in 2009. The team is also excited to rejuvenate interest in the river that helped establish and shape Lawrence into the city it is today.

The Kansas rowing program has not hosted a true home event in Lawrence since 2005 and the coaching staff feels that is long overdue.

“Our team is excited to host the Jamboree,” head coach Rob Catloth said. “It is exciting for them to have the opportunity to compete on the river that they practice on every day.”

The Jayhawk Jamboree will be similar to a head race, using a time-trial format, as the Kansas River lacks adequate width to host six or more lanes for competition. Kansas will welcome Kansas State, Central Oklahoma, Drake and Tulsa to the event. The racing will begin at 1 p.m. and conclude at 5 p.m. Boats will be launched approximately 15 seconds apart from one another and the boat with the fastest time wins the competition.

“This will be a great opportunity for our team to get the competitive juices flowing and see how we match up with other good programs across the nation,” Catloth said.

The rowing event will also include a competition for club teams in the area including the Kansas men’s and women’s crew teams, as well as the Wichita State crew team.

The Jayhawk Jamboree is the second of three regattas the KU team will compete in during the fall. Kansas will travel to the Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga, Tenn., Nov. 2-3, to conclude the fall season.

–     Fun Zone: Kansas Athletics will set up the Fun Zone for little ones to come out and play on the river bank during the day’s events. Members of the        Spirit Squad, Big Jay and Baby Jay will also be posing for pictures with fans.
–     Live Music: The KU Pep Band will play for fans and rally the teams preparing to compete.
–     Food Trucks: Traditional festival food such as corn dogs, cotton candy and kettle corn will be available to snack on. Beverages will be available         for purchase from Free State Brewing Company.

1 p.m.           Men’s Varsity Eight

1:30 p.m.      Women’s Varsity Eight

2 p.m.           Men’s Novice Eight

2:30 p.m.      Women’s Novice Eight

3 p.m.           Men’s Varsity Four

3:30 p.m.      Women’s Varsity Four

4 p.m.           Men’s / Women’s Double

4 p.m.           Men’s / Women’s Pair

4:30 p.m.      Men’s Novice Four

4:30 p.m.      Women’s Novice Four

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