By: Joshua Danker-Dake | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: April 2010
Rowing enthusiasts Christine LaBarre and Claudia Brierre invite you to attend the 19th annual Route 66 Regatta.
On Saturday, April 17, the Tulsa Rowing Club will host its 19th annual Route 66 Regatta. This all-day event will feature at least 250 rowers and over 30 races. “We’ll have rowers of all ages – high school, college, and masters – from all over the region,” says Christine LaBarre, rower and Route 66 Regatta planning chair. “This is the most action this part of the Arkansas River sees all year.”
The races will be 1000-meter sprints, beginning just south of the 21st Street Bridge and ending near River Festival Park. The Tulsa Rowing Club boathouse at 2100 S. Jackson Ave. is a great place to watch the races. Food and drink concessions will be available there, as will an assortment of merchandise tents offering event T-shirts, sporting gear and rowing apparel. The Tulsa Rowing Club will also be offering a learn-to-row class for all ages. Another good place to watch the races is the 21st Street Bridge, where you can get an overhead view of the action.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” says Claudia Brierre, who is a rower, a member of the Tulsa Rowing Club’s board of directors, and a Route 66 Regatta event planner. “Rowing is such a great spectator sport.”
The Route 66 Regatta is a high-profile event for the Tulsa rowing community. “The Tulsa Rowing Club is the only recreational rowing club in the Tulsa area. We go to other regions and represent the city in the rowing community, but this event really puts Tulsa on the rowing map,” says LaBarre.
The Tulsa Rowing Club, a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization, was founded in 1983 by Charles Oliphant to promote the sport throughout Green Country. The boathouse was dedicated in 1992. Today, the Tulsa Rowing Club includes over 60 members in its masters program – men and women of all ages – and 50 in its juniors program, which includes kids from 12 area high schools.
Rowing is fantastic exercise, although many people are under the misconception that it’s an upper-body sport. “Proper rowing technique works the whole body, and most of the force you generate comes from your legs,” says LaBarre. “It’s a great low-impact exercise, and it’s open to anyone, no matter how old you are. We have people who rowed in college, but we also have people who picked up rowing for the first time at age 50 and loved it.”
If you think you are interested in rowing, you can sign up for month-long, six-session introductory classes with no commitment, says LaBarre. The Tulsa Rowing Club owns all the equipment, so you don’t have to worry about buying or transporting bulky gear. Membership in the Tulsa Rowing Club gives you access to this equipment as well as the club’s workout center and indoor rowing machines. “Our year-long membership is only $250,” says Brierre. “It’s a better deal than a gym membership.”
If you’re interested in getting acquainted with a growing group of rowing enthusiasts, they’d love to have you. “We have such a good community,” says LaBarre. “We’re all here because we love rowing.” For more information about the Tulsa Rowing Club, or to sign up for rowing classes, visit www.tulsarowingclub.org.
The Route 66 Regatta is Saturday, April 17. Races begin at 8 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. “It’s a great time to come out, bring a blanket, enjoy the nice weather, and watch some great competition,” says LaBarre. For more information about the Route 66 Regatta, visit www.route66regatta.com.