Club facing awesome regatta feat
TEN short days is all the Bundaberg Rowing Club had to organise Queensland’s largest regatta.
Heavy rain around Rockhampton clogged the Fitzroy River with debris and forced organisers to cancel the Queensland Schools Rowing Championships.
Bundaberg Rowing Club vice-president Dave Amos received a phone call from a nervous Rowing Queensland official last Wednesday asking whether the annual event could be moved to Bundaberg.
“In my younger days, a coach once said to me: ‘you don’t have to be crazy to row, but it helps’,” Amos said.
“It’s something that stayed with me and to be honest, I think I’m still living by it.”
A hesitant “yes” given by Amos sent the Bundaberg Rowing Club into a frenzy as committee members and officials rallied to ready Bucca Weir for an influx of rowers from across the state in what will be the Queensland’s biggest official regatta.
Nearly 800 rowers will compete across 250 individual races and heats at the three-day event which has been estimated to pump $1.7 million into the local economy.
“All these kids have been training all year long for this event and if we didn’t get stuck in and make it happen, it wouldn’t have happened,” Amos said.
“It’s going to be good for the sport, good for our region and it’s going to be good for our young competitors.”
Bundaberg Rowing Club members and volunteers have been thrust into the deep end as they wade through a sea of administrative paper work and prepare the Bucca Weir site for the influx of visitors.
The two-kilometre course has now been set, boat racks erected, tent sites prepared, pontoons put in place and additional toiletry and catering amenities sourced.
Amos said there were more than a few bleary-eyed and frazzled rowing enthusiasts at Bundaberg Rowing Club headquarters.
“We’ve been burning the candle at both ends so to speak,” he said.
“It hasn’t been easy, but it’s all going to be worth it.
“The people who have helped out have done it out of a love of rowing and a desire to see younger people enjoy it,” he said.