Henley On Todd Boat Race

An institution in Alice Springs is the Henley on Todd Regatta, which is run along the Todd River in Alice Springs annually on the 3rd Saturday in September. The event is named after the Henley-on-Thames Regatta, a famous English rowing race.

What is so unusual about Alice Springs version? Well, Alice Springs is close to the center of Australia, and the Todd River is rarely flowing. The race is along the dry river bed using boats of all sorts with no bottom. People run along inside the boats in a mad dash to the line. There are usually about twenty teams participating, who are sponsored by local businesses. The big finish to the day is a race between two large boats, built on tractor bodies, which have cannons fastened to the side and large fire hoses connected to watertanks. The mix of flour and water make for a messy end to the day. And bad weather can also come into play, as occasionally there has been some rain about and the river may actually be flowing - resulting in the event being cancelled.

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