Triple Crown of Rowing, a First for the Rowing Community
Partnership Between USRowing, The Head Of The Charles Regatta, Head of the Schuylkill Regatta and Philadelphia Gold Challenge Cup Foundation To Support Single Sculling
For single scullers in the United States, the Lotman Challenge, a new initiative to promote and support their training and success is being launched by the Philadelphia Gold Challenge Cup Foundation.
Much like horse racing’s “triple crown,” scullers will compete in three of the nation’s largest and most prestigious rowing events, with winners awarded cash prizes.
The “Lotman Challenge” will begin July 12-16 with athletes competing in the Elite/Senior Single Sculls events at the USRowing Club National Championships in Bethel, Ohio. On October 23, competitors will vie in Boston in the Championship Single event at The Head Of The Charles Regatta. The race series culminates on October 28 in Philadelphia with the Championship Single event at the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta.
The Philadelphia Gold Challenge Cup Foundation, which successfully brought back the storied Gold Cup races in 2011, is confident that this new focus on elite male and female single scullers will give them a well-deserved national spotlight and boost their competitiveness on the international stage.
The Foundation is partnering in the Lotman Challenge with USRowing, The Head Of The Charles Regatta, the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta and RegattaCentral.
“As the official registrar for the USRowing Club National Championships, The Head Of The Charles Regatta and Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, we were thrilled when the Philadelphia Gold Challenge Cup Foundation approached RC about hosting the site for the inaugural Lotman Challenge as well,” said Traci Stocker, Director of Operations at RegattaCentral. “These regattas offer world-class racing and provide an exceptional platform to promote single sculling in the United States. It will be exciting to watch how the series unfolds this year.”
“Partnerships in the rowing community have the potential to be very powerful,” said Gold Cup Foundation board member Scot Fisher. “By joining together, we have the collective opportunity to encourage and promote single sculling in a very high-profile series of events in this country.”
As the national governing body for the sport, USRowing sees the Lotman Challenge as a way to grow elite sculling across the country, as athletes enjoy the opportunity to compete in sprint and head race events in multiple locations for a cash prize.
“This event is a great opportunity to advance sculling in the United States,” said USRowing High Performance Director Matt Imes. “We believe the exposure brought by the Lotman Challenge will go a long way in achieving the goal of getting Americans on the international podium in single sculling events.”
The Head Of The Charles Regatta, the largest and most competitive regatta in the U.S. and the second round of competition, is offering guaranteed spots for Lotman competitors in their very competitive Championship Single event.
“With Club Nationals around the corner, we are looking forward to the start of the Lotman Challenge series,” said Fred Schoch, executive director of The Head Of The Charles Regatta. “HOCR views this series as another opportunity to support the development of sculling in the U.S., which was our aim last year when we introduced the youth coxed quad at our event. We are excited to partner with the Philadelphia Gold Cup, USRowing and Head of the Schuylkill, who each share in the vision of raising the bar of sculling across each of our events and the U.S. as a whole.”
The Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, is a fitting finale for this elite sculling initiative. Philadelphia and the Schuylkill River are the home of the original Gold Cup, a race first started in 1920 by the Schuylkill Navy. Since its reinstatement in 2011, some of the world’s greatest scullers have travelled to Philadelphia to race for its cash purse. The closing events will celebrate the stories of the Lotman Challenge competitors and their journeys.
“The time has come for our organizations to partner and collectively support singles sculling,” said Jen Wesson, Executive Director of the Head of the Schuylkill. “Setting a national agenda for these programs today will present opportunities for aspiring young rowers tomorrow.”
The commitment and enthusiasm of the Lotman Challenge partners recently attracted the support of additional sponsors including HereNow and Boathouse Apps. Both organizations have increased the value of the cash purse for competitors by $11,000. At the conclusion of the series, the American sculler in the men’s and women’s divisions with the most points will receive $9,000 with second place earning $3,500, and $1,500 going to third. In the event a rower finishes in the first position for all three events, the foundation will award $14,000.
This experiment, in close collaboration, will ensure that participation in the sport of rowing continues to grow, that competitors succeed and that opportunities exist for all.
Scullers interested in competing in the 2017 Herb Lotman United States Challenge can find additional information on the RegattaCentral website.
About the Philadelphia Gold Challenge Cup
The Philadelphia Challenge Cup event, otherwise known as “The Gold Cup,” began in 1920, during the heyday of Philadelphia rowing. The event pitted the best amateur male single scullers in the world against each other in a sprint race on the famed Schuylkill River course. Philadelphia’s own John B. Kelly Sr. was the first recipient. The contest, and the cup, disappeared in the early 1960s, only to reemerge in 2011 after a 50-year hiatus. A private group of Philadelphia rowing enthusiasts rediscovered the Gold Cup and reinstated the event and tradition to its rightful place in single scull rowing prominence, with the positive expansion of the competition to women.
About the Lotman Challenge
The Philadelphia Gold Challenge Cup Foundation created the Herb Lotman United States Rowing Challenge (the Lotman Challenge) to further promote and develop single sculling in the United States. Prize money will be awarded to the top American men and women scullers accumulating the most points over the course of three separate open weight events. This includes the USRowing Club National Championships, followed by the Head Of The Charles Regatta and culminating at the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta. Elite U.S. scullers must compete in all three events to be eligible for the Lotman Challenge purse.
The Lotman Challenge is named in honor of the late Herb Lotman, a well known Philadelphia businessman and philanthropist. Among his many philanthropic activities, he was the co-founder of the McDonald’s LPGA which raised over $30 million for children’s charities. He got interested in rowing because several of his grandchildren participated locally in high school. In 2010, he acquired the storied Gold Cup, and it has since been run successfully in Philadelphia, most recently in 2016, in conjunction with the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta. The Lotman Challenge is a fitting tribute to a man who truly believed in helping others.