Article Submitted by: Sonja Randall
Nine FVRA representatives from Connecticut and California planned practiced and traveled to Chattanooga, TN to row in the 10th annual head of the Hooch the second largest regatta in the US. Had Mother Nature cooperated, the FVRA women’s team would have rowed the 3.1 mile course down the Tennessee River in the women’s masters 8+ Row for the Cure event.
But Mother Nature refused her cooperation and instead presented winds of 15-30 mph coupled with frigid Canadian air. All races on the first day of the event were canceled.
The weekend was not a total loss. For a team who has not been able to spend much time together on or off the water this season, the weekend turned into a much needed women’s racing team retreat where they could not only catch up with each other, but also (and perhaps more importantly) discuss plans and goals for next season.
In the end, the weekend demonstrated the commitment of current team members to row and to race. While several team members were unable to attend the event this year, next year’s 11th annual Head of the Hooch should expect to see FVRA in attendance, and in more than just one boat. “Next year we will register for more events on both Saturday and Sunday,” says team member and instigator of FVRA’s participation in this event Renee Jones. “That way if this weather happens again, we will still get water time.”
The final line-up that never saw the water included Kate Ruppar cox, April Umek (formerly of FVRA and who flew in from California) in the stroke seat followed by Ashley Shepard, Karen Duni, Renee Jones, Karen Franzen, Janice Wingo, Sonja Randall, and Sabrina Lavieri in bow. Sunday races resumed as scheduled and the team was at least able to take in the atmosphere and watch some rowing before heading home.