Community wellness through rowing


  • 11 Aug 2014 11:13 PM | Deleted user

    Grand Rapids in National Rowing Spotlight with Masters Nationals

    In just a few days, the first boats will be off the line speeding down the course at the 2014 USRowing Masters Nationals, the national championship regatta for adults that row in the United States.

    Continued at

    Grand Rapids in National Rowing Spotlight with Masters Nationals

  • 11 Aug 2014 11:04 PM | Deleted user

    West Michigan Sports Commission and Grand Rapids Rowing Association Host First National Rowing Event in Michigan, with Rowing Watch Party and “Beer Regatta” in Riverside Park

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Aug. 11, 2014 – With a title like “Beer City USA,” it’s no surprise that Grand Rapids has a thriving craft beer culture. But many may not realize the city also has world-class rowing along the Grand River. These two Grand Rapids attributes will come together Aug. 14-17 for the 2014 USRowing Masters National Championships at Riverside Park, 2001 Monroe Ave. NE in Grand Rapids.

    “This is going to be a fun spectator event, especially if you’ve never witnessed a rowing regatta,” said Mike Guswiler, president of the West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) who is co-hosting the event with the Grand Rapids Rowing Association. “We decided to pair a few of Grand Rapids’ most notable features – water and brews – to give viewers a great experience of watching national rowers along the Grand River while enjoying a craft beer garden at Riverside Park.”

    Drawing approximately 1,500 rowers, 1,200 boats, 5,000 spectators and more than 140 national rowing clubs competing in 200 events, the Masters National Championships is hosted annually by USRowing (nonprofit governing body for rowing in the United States) as its largest national event, featuring competitors over the age of 21. The 2013 regatta in Sarasota, Fla., attracted 6,000 spectators over four days and generated an economic impact of $1.5 million. This year’s event has exceeded 2013 rowing participants and brings an estimated economic impact of $2 million to the region.

    “It is an incredible honor to host the first national rowing event in Michigan, let alone Grand Rapids,” said Landon Bartley, president of the Grand Rapids Rowing Association and local regatta director. “And it will be a sight to behold, with hundreds of boats, thousands of people, and high-intensity rowing right in front of you.”

    The rowing competition consists of 50 rowing events daily over four days of competition along a 1,000-meter, six-lane river course that begins in the middle of Riverside Park near Guild Street and ends at the south end of Riverside Park near Knapp Street. Heats run approximately three to four minutes long and take place in the morning, with medaling races in the afternoon. Rowing starts at 8 a.m. daily.

    Visitor Information and Parking

    The regatta is free to watch, with designated viewing areas set up in Riverside Park, complete with large-screen monitors to show inaccessible parts of the course. The park will include a hospitality tent with tables and chairs plus a large screen to view the action, a grandstand for high views, plus an adjacent beer garden. A Vendor Village will feature local and national rowing merchandise plus a variety of food options, including Taco's El Cunado from Downtown Market, Madcap Coffee, Tiki Island Smoothies, Tim Hortons and Grand Rapids Junior Rowing Boosters, who will sell food and merchandise.

    Wednesday, Aug. 13 is a practice day from 1 to 5 p.m., and race days run Thursday, Aug. 14 through Saturday, Aug. 16 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 or 3 p.m.

    Free shuttles to the north end of Riverside Park begin running Aug. 13 from nine designated parking lots in downtown Grand Rapids. The shuttle schedule is as follows:

    Wednesday, Aug. 13 – Course Practice Day. Shuttle Hours: 1 – 7 p.m.
    Thursday, Aug. 14 – Race Day. Shuttle Hours: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    Friday, Aug. 15 – Race Day. Shuttle Hours: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
    Saturday, Aug. 16 – Race Day. Shuttle Hours: 6 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
    Sunday, Aug. 17 – Race Day. Shuttle Hours: 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.

    “Riverside Park is a fantastic place to watch rowing. I recommend spectators come down for an hour or two to relax and watch the regatta, visit our vendors in the hospitality area, grab a beer and some food, and enjoy the day,” advises Bartley. “You’ll see all manner and size of boats, plus all ages of competitors, from 27 to 90.”

    For event and Grand Rapids information, visit Regatta team entries, heat sheets, and club listings can be found at RegattaCentral (

    “Beer Regatta USA” at Riverside Park

    During the event, visitors can enjoy a “Beer Regatta USA” craft beer garden at Riverside Park adjacent to the hospitality area with 10 kinds of local craft beer on tap (including a custom beer made for this event) from five breweries each day. A brewery also will be featured daily (including practice day), with staff from that brewery on hand to answer questions. Brewers’ hours are 2 to 6 p.m. on the Wednesday practice day, and 12 to 3 p.m. daily for the race days.

    As a special feature, Gravel Bottom Brewery in Ada will brew a light American Pale Ale custom beer called Different Strokes: A Lawn Rower Beer, specifically for the regatta that can be sampled only at this event. Non- alcoholic beverages also will be available.

    Beer Regatta hours and daily featured brewers are as follows:

    Weds., Aug. 13, 2 - 6 p.m. – Founders
    Thursday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. – Schmohz Brewery
    Friday, Aug. 15, 10 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. – Brewery Vivant
    Saturday, Aug. 16, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. – New Holland Brewing
    Sunday, Aug. 17, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. – Gravel Bottom Craft Brewery and Supply

    Volunteers Still Needed for Event

    Volunteers are needed daily from Thursday, Aug. 14 through Sunday, Aug. 17, to help with all aspects of the event. Individuals will receive lunch during their shift and a tee-shirt, and they are invited to attend the Rowers’ Reception Friday evening. For volunteer information and to register for a shift, visit

    About the West Michigan Sports Commission

    The West Michigan Sports Commission, a non-profit 501 (c) (3), identifies, secures and hosts a diverse level of youth and amateur sporting events to positively impact the region’s economy and quality of life. Since its inception in 2007, the WMSC has booked 370 sporting events and tournaments attracting 540,000 athletes and visitors, generating more than $175 million in direct visitor spending. Visit for more information.

    About the Grand Rapids Rowing Association

    Rowing in Grand Rapids has a long and storied history, with records of rowing on the Grand River dating back to as early as the 1890s. The Grand Rapids Rowing Association (GRRA) was incorporated in 1986 to organize rowing in the areas and runs high school, corporate and adult recreational and competitive rowing programs, as well as the popular Learn to Row classes. It also hosts several rowing regattas each year. Visit for more information.

  • 10 Aug 2014 2:38 PM | Deleted user
    The largest regatta ever held in Michigan is coming to Grand Rapids. The 2014 USRowing Masters Nationals Championship Regatta is bringing thousands of rowers to Riverside Park for four days of competition. Over 1,400 boats will be racing in 200 events. 120 rowing clubs are traveling from as far as the District of Columbia, San Diego and Alaska. Masters rowers are classified in age categories from 21 to 80 and older.

    When: August 14 to 17, races start every 4 minutes from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
    Where: Riverside Park
    Admission: Free
    Parking: There is no parking for athletes and spectators at Riverside Park. A free shuttle bus from downtown Grand Rapids to Riverside Park.

    The Masters Nationals Championship Regatta is hosted by the Grand Rapids Rowing Association, the West Michigan Sports Commission and USRowing.

    Regatta Event:
    Regatta Event Mobile (parking):
  • 22 Jul 2014 10:16 PM | Deleted user

    With the 2014 US Rowing Masters National Championships rapidly approaching, Grand Rapids Rowing Association takes a moment to sweep back in time.

    In March of 1921, The Grand Rapids Progress, published by the Grand Rapids Association of Commerce, announces a big rowing regatta to be hosted by the city of Grand Rapids.

    Shown on page 2 in the following article.

    Grand Rapids Secures Big Rowing Regatta

    The Grand Rapids Boat and Canoe Club and the Grand Rapids Association of Commerce joined in extending an invitation to the Central States Rowing Association to hold its 1921 regatta in this city this summer.

    Rowing teams from Grand Rapids have participated in these annual regattas during the past several years, winning several trophies and as the river north of the Boat and Canoe Club house is on of the best rowing courses in the United States a successful regatta is assured if held at Grand Rapids.

    The invitation was taken to St. Louis personally by president Clare Fox of the Grand Rapids Boat and Canoe Club and Herbert S. Conlon of the Grand Rapids Press and a former medal winner in the Central States regattas.

    Chairman Conlon being an older timer with the blades and knowing the necessary requirements for a regatta went to the St. Louis meeting armed with photographs showing the course from every conceivable angle, the club house and its surroundings and as a result competing cities threw up their hands and joined in the unanimous vote that Grand Rapids will be honored with the 1921 regattas.

    President Hadwiger of the Central States Rowing Association, who recently visited Grand Rapids, presented a report of his visit in which he commended the local club very highly. As a result, Grand Rapids will be the center of on of the biggest and most interesting sporting events to take place this summer in this section or throughout the country for that manner and must assume her full responsibility toward making the Central States Rowing Association fell that the Grand Rapids sponsors were not over enthusiastic as to Grand Rapids right to have the regatta held here.

    Click to download article pdf.

    The August, 1921 Club News would later recap the event on pages 2-6 of its magazine.

    The Central States Amateur Rowing Association’s Annual Regatta was held under the auspices of the Grand Rapids Boat and Canoe Club on the Grand River at Grand Rapids, Michigan Friday and Saturday, July 8th and 9th, 1921.

    It was the best regatta in the history of the Association. The weather was fine, the entries were big, the crews were of high class, the races were keenly contested and the attendance was large. 94 crews rowed, 45 on Junior Day and 49 on Senior Day. It is stated that this is the largest rowing regatta held in the United States since the war…

    Click to download full article.

    It is a great time to remember Grand Rapids lengthy rowing history as the USRowing Masters National Championships prepare to roll into town on August 14-17. By honoring the clubs that have come before us, we gain an appreciation for the hard work, dedication and passion for those who choose to set a boat.

    Whether it’s almost a century ago or current day, the river will forever remember, as should we, that Grand Rapids will always put on a great show.

  • 20 Jul 2014 9:50 PM | Deleted user

    GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Jennifer, Alana, Val, and Erin hit the water for the first time in this week's Get Fit with the Grand Rapids Rowing Association!

    Story and video at WZZM.

  • 19 Jul 2014 9:47 PM | Deleted user

    Grand Rapids (WZZM) - Four WZZM 13 team members have taken on a new Get Fit challenge. They are giving rowing a try, but there's a competitive element to this particular activity.

    Story and video at WZZM.

  • 13 Jul 2014 9:18 PM | Deleted user
    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- It's week one so Jennifer, Val, Alana, and Erin are learning the basics of rowing from the Grand Rapids Rowing Association.

    They talked with Elizabeth Embick, a Learn to Row Coach, about what classes are available, the equipment they would be using, and how much work has to be put into rowing.

    See video at WZZM.

  • 04 Jul 2014 9:39 PM | Deleted user
    “The sport grabbed me from the start. I loved everything about it — being outside, enjoying nature, being on the water, the sense of teamwork, the camaraderie,” – Deb Suttner

    It was the first Boats, Brews and Burgers celebration that is held after each four week Learn to Row class. Members of the Grand Rapids Rowing Association and the new rowers mixed together to have an informal race on the Grand River, simply for fun. When everyone got off the water and stood on the dock clapping for each other, president Landon Bartley was flooded with joy. After all the years of struggling to accelerate the association, at that moment he was baffled.

    “Holy cow. This is actually working. People actually love this,” he thought.

    Continued at Women's Lifestyle.

  • 22 Jun 2014 1:51 PM | Deleted user

    An Alaskan corporate challenge is what put Brian Donnelly into his first shell.

    The 60-year-old sculler joined Deb Suttner, 50 a member of the Grand Rapids Rowing

    Association, at the 27th annual Grand Regatta on Saturday at Riverside Park in a quest to medal and prepare for the USRowing Masters National Championships in August.

    "(My company) put four inexperienced rowers in a boat and I liked it," Donnelly said.

    Rowing on the Grand River provides outlet for competitive drive

    Rowing photos 17 through 29 of 73.

  • 02 Jun 2014 3:24 PM | Deleted user

    The Summer 2014 session for Junior rowers starts on June 9th. Registration is now open.

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