The Des Moines Rowing Club is a nonprofit corporation created to promote the sport of rowing in the Central Iowa area. The club was founded in 1983 and hosted its first regatta that year. It now consists of around 150 members. About 70 percent of the members are active rowers, most of whom row from April through October. The remaining members are interested and supportive rowing enthusiasts. Though most members live in the Des Moines metropolitan area, the club does include rowers from Ames, Indianola, Marshalltown and other surrounding communities.
Our club membership ranges in age from teenagers (juniors) to adults (masters) in their seventies. We are a 501c3 non-profit organization that is governed by a volunteer board. On a voluntary basis, every summer we run a novice or learn-to-row program for anyone in the Des Moines community. We also host the Head of the Des Moines Regatta every September and sometimes the rowing competition for the Iowa Games in the summer. Our main boathouse is located near the Birdland Marina on the Des Moines River. We operate our novice program and do some sculling at Gray’s Lake.
Since 1983, the Des Moines Rowing Club has hosted the Head of the Des Moines Regatta on the Des Moines River. One of the oldest and biggest regattas in the Midwest, this three-mile race upstream usually attracts over 30 collegiate or club crews with over 500 competitors from all over the region. On the last Saturday of September, competitors pick from over 50 races to row from the Botanical Garden to Prospect Park. This event has been named to be a national standard Regatta by the United States Rowing Association’s Judge Referee Corps.
The Rowing Club is a registered member of the United States Rowing Association (USRA). The USRA is the national governing body of the sport. The club is governed by a board of directors, which is elected by the club membership.