The second annual Six Bridges Regatta (6BR) will be held on Saturday, September 19. Rowers from across the South will compete in a full day of sprints and races on the Arkansas River. Participants will launch at the Arkansas Boathouse Club in North Little Rock and row west to the start line near Big Rock Quarry. They will compete east down the river passing the Baring Cross Train, Broadway, Main Street, Junction, I-30 Bridges and finishing at the Clinton Presidential Bridge. Spectators can find great spots for watching the events on both sides of the river while enjoying food, refreshments, and live entertainment.
Rowing has been a popular sport in Little Rock for over 100 years. In 1877, the Capitol Hotel was opened after extensive remodeling of the Denkla Building. Here a group of young men gathered to discuss how to spend their leisure time; during this conversation the idea for an athletic club to include rowing was hatched. The young men continued to gather at a men’s store located in the Capitol Hotel – Bernays & Maxwell – to firm up their idea.
In 1882 the Little Rock Athletic Association was formerly organized. P.H. Bernays was elected President. This was the first effort in Little Rock to organize a boat club. By 1883, the club had 125 members. The group charged $25 annual membership dues and was able to purchase the equipment it needed. Soon after, a wood frame clubhouse was built on the bank of the Arkansas River at the foot of Main Street.
The club had a board comprised of 10 members. In addition to rowing, the group fielded a football team which competed across the South. Since the boathouse was the gathering place for these 100+ young men to gather, the name Boathouse Club became widely used in place of Little Rock Athletic Association.
This exciting event is bringing a new generation of rowers to Little Rock and the Empress is proud to be a part of the downtown atmosphere. The perfect place to relax after a hard day of rowing is the 200 ft veranda overlooking the gardens of The Empress of Little Rock!