RACE ON THE TODD RIVER
There is a small town in Australia, Alice Springs. It was founded in 1871, and the reason for the construction of the settlement was the laying of a telephone line on the way to Darwin. The city is not rich in attractions, except that the Todd River is there. A characteristic feature of this river is that the water in it appears exclusively in the rainy season, and the rest of the time Todd “pleases” the eye with a dry riverbed. Nevertheless, such an annoying trifle did not become an obstacle for enthusiasts from the local meteorological service, who in 1962 were inspired by the idea of holding a real sailing regatta on the river. Well, almost real. And really, is this not a unique case when the participants will not have to row with all their might, squinting at the rivals, but run racing, carrying boats in their hands. Taking the name of the Henley-on-Thames regatta in England as a model, in which the Cambridge and Oxford rowers find out every year, comedians from Alice Springs christened their event Henley-on-Todd.
Admittedly, the plan was a resounding success. No, of course, at first the enterprise got on its feet, each time gaining an increasing number of people who wanted to be in the role of a “yachtsman” without water, and a grateful audience. Today, the race on the Todd River is a bright, memorable festival for everyone in a good mood, healthy struggle and excitement.
Competitions are already held in several “disciplines”, and in all, of course, there are champions. In addition to the usual names of relay races, such as: kayaking, rowing, kayaking in singles, there are also very funny competitions in the regatta: squirrels in a wheel and races in bathtubs. There are also unusual mini-tournaments, whose participants must throw a full barrel of sand with a shovel faster than the opponent. In the final stage, a traditional meeting of racers from Australia and the USA takes place – we can say “the national teams swim”, where one side or the other wins with varying success.
But that is not all. Toward the close of the festival, the show starts, which all spectators are looking forward to. Before them unfolds a real sea battle of huge makeshift ships from different eras. The action is accompanied by pyrotechnic special effects, explosions of flour bombs and volleys of water from the hoses, bringing the audience to a state of complete euphoria.
In recent years, races on the Todd River have been gathering up to 20 thousand people eager to be witnesses of cheerful madness. The organizers, and they are usually played by the Rotary Club, strongly support the bright atmosphere of the holiday, which is scheduled for the third Saturday of August, trying to make every new festival surpass its predecessor in terms of positive emotions. The proceeds from the Henley-on-Todd event are donated to charity.
The Alice Springs Regatta, for its history of more than 50 years, has been canceled only once. In 1993, a miracle happened – the riverbed was filled with water, which, for obvious reasons, was not included in the plans of the organizers of the event. But then Todd never let the townspeople down again, gathering tourist battalions off their shores on that day.
We have a rather vivid example before us, when, literally, from nothing, a person’s imagination brings to light an ingenious simplicity of idea, which, becoming a reality, stuns in the end with the beauty of execution and impressive results. And you just need a little thing for this: desire, assertiveness, a sense of humor and a bit of luck!