Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting Ready for the Regatta

Bo Tanner (wearing last year's Bayada Regatta t-shirt!)
and Jim Sliski clean boats in preparation for the Regatta.
Today was a lovely August day for a perfect visit at the Jones Ferry Access Center in Holyoke! When I arrived, a few older women were getting kayak lessons on the Connecticut River, which was smooth under a sunny sky with clouds. When I left a few hours later, a busy boat washing was taking place in front of the boathouse, where three adaptive rowers were getting ready for the Bayada Regatta coming up this weekend in Philadelphia.

Jim Sliski, Jim Brooks and Bo Tanner have been rowing - and competing - for several years now, using the Jones Ferry Access Center run by Holyoke Rows. Jim Sliski started rowing with DCR's Universal Access Program in 1996 upriver in Northampton, and has been a steady presence on the water ever since. He is competing this weekend though admits his "stamina is not great "as various health challenges have slowed down his training in the last year. Jim Brooks has had a "great summer" and is looking forward to Philadelphia. Bo is racing in three races, in doubles with partners and a singles race. Best wishes to all three this weekend!!!

Bo takes a light training run on the river today
after weeks of steady training.
Holyoke Rows is a non-profit organization I sometimes think of as a pseudonym for Stephanie Moore, the soft-spoken mother of four who tapped into local resources to convert a rundown river front into a thriving recreational community center just east of the Holyoke Mall. A firm believer in "access for all", Stephanie has made a traditionally elite sport available to an often disadvantaged local demographic that includes city kids, seniors, and people with disabilities.
The Bayada Regatta is an internationally famous adaptive rowing competition, now in its 30th year. It is the oldest and largest adaptive rowing competition in the U.S. This year's Regatta takes place Saturday, August 20, from 8am-4pm.  Holyoke Rows will run its annual Paper City Regatta this year on September 25 at the Jones Ferry Access Center. I'm sure we'll see both Jims and Bo at this race too!

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