The Clemson University Rowing Association men’s lightweight 4 team pushed its oars through the water during its morning race as the rowers’ fake beards flew in the breeze.
For Clemson’s rowing teams, the Head of the South Rowing Regatta is a chance to display creativity by dressing in outfits with themes. The men’s lightweight team went with the Duck Dynasty look during Saturday’s competition.
“The rules say you have to be in a uniform, but it doesn’t say what kind of uniform,” senior Chris Nagle said. “It’s a team tradition to dress up for HOTS. Each boat picks a theme and goes for it.”
Sporting fake beards and camouflage, Clemson turned heads as it entered and left the Savannah River. The team said it goes for something original every year. As the last regatta of the fall season, many teams have fun with the final event.
“We’ve gotten a good reception,” junior Chris Cornejo said. “Everyone likes it. We’ve gotten some looks, a few cat calls, a lot of recognition. We have to grow real (beards) now.”
One Clemson women’s team sported a Dalmatian look by wearing white shirts with black spots. Other Clemson teams with themes in this year’s regatta included Despicable Me, Scooby-Doo and firefighters.
The group said past themes included Sesame Street, Santa Claus with reindeer and President Obama’s Secret Service.
While other programs might not dress in costumes, the fun of the competition shows on faces. Augusta Rowing Club coach Michael Cobb said the end of the fall season has been kind to his club.
“All the kids are coming off the water pleased with how they’re doing,” he said. “The kids are doing well. Generally speaking, everyone is having a good time at all our races, but it gets more serious as we get into the spring, both in collegiate and high school.”
Cobb said the Augusta club has made strides in the past year and is looking strong for the spring season.
“We’re pushing a little harder this year,” he said. “This crew is probably my most attentive and ready to go. They’re really starting to see what they need to do and how hard they need to work, so I’m proud of what they’ve accomplished so far.
“I’m seeing more work in the water. More are asking about college scholarships and what they need to do to get better and stronger. That’s encouraging.”
Cobb said the regatta, which is in its 17th year and plays host to more than 50 crews from around the country, receives a big boost from volunteer and community support.
“It’s a huge thing to put on, and we couldn’t do it without the volunteers,” he said. “People come back and say how nice everyone is, so big props to those who help.”