Sunday, May 13, 2012

West Side Rowing Club celebrates 100 years

 The West Side Rowing Club (WSRC) turns 100 this year, with plans for several regattas and a party to celebrate.
 Several regattas are scheduled for the year, including the John Bennett Regatta, which features rowers from the U.S. and Canada, said Matt Logue, director of boathouse operations.
 “We will have crews from across the northeast and Canada racing our own Buffalo based crews right on the Black Rock Canal,” he said.
 An event will be held to celebrate the club’s birthday on August 25, Cotter said. The party will feature an open bar, Buffalo-based food stations and dancing.
 “We expect 1000 people,” he said.
 The club was founded in 1912 as a way to bring rowing to the West Side, said Bill Cotter, a former president of the WSRC who’s been involved with the club for 50 years.
 “The organizers were Irish,” he said. “For some reason, rowing attracted the Irish.”
 While several rowing clubs at the time were more established, the WSRC has outlived them all, Cotter said.
 Currently the club serves as the home base for several area high school and college clubs, including Canisius College’s Division 1 women’s program. There is also a club for high school students who don’t have rowing as an option at their schools, he said, bringing together students from all over Western New York.
 The secret to the club’s longevity is in serving the area high schools, Cotter said.
 “We were the first club to bring in high schools,” he said.
By Michael Canfield and Jacob Tierney