Regatta sees a dip in registration numbers

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Registration is down for Saturday's 28th annual Augusta Invitational Regatta, which is put on by the Augusta Rowing Club.

Twelve teams with 95 entries are signed up to compete in 30 potential races on the 2,000-meter course at Langley Pond, although some don't have entrants yet, according to regattacentral.com.

Racing will begin shortly after 7 a.m.

The competitions will span all disciplines, including skulling and sweep rowing with one, two, four or eight rowers.

Tammy Stout, executive director of the Augusta Sports Council, said the event at its peak has brought in more than 1,000 rowers.

Augusta Rowing Club coach Michael Cobb said that number is down to about 250 this year.

Stout attributed the decline to two new regattas scheduled for this weekend, which are likely the reason that none of the teams registered for Saturday are from Florida.

"Everyone is desperate for a fundraising event for their program and we're starting to see it in rowing," Stout said.

Even though it won't be the 700 rowers and $400,000 that Stout said the event has typically brought in, it should still have a sizeable impact for the local economy.

Brad Barnes, of the Aiken County Parks and Recreation Department, which is in charge of cleaning and setting up the park for the event, said rowers typically stay for a couple days or more and patronize local hotels and restaurants.

In fact, Stout said some teams arrived earlier this week to begin training. She called events like the regatta a "silent economic engine" for Augusta, since many residents won't even be aware of all the visitors.

The Augusta Junior Program will be looking to defend its team title against five other teams, and Cobb said it should be a good opportunity for his rowers to gear up for a run at the national competition later this year.

"It's going to be a great day and great weather," said Cobb, who is expecting better attendance than last year, when the regatta was held on a cold and rainy day. "Spectators can wander among the crews and the boats and learn a little bit more about the sport."

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 03/18/11 - 05:25 am
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I suspect the weather one

I suspect the weather one year affects the number of registrations for the next year. So with the predicited good weather this year, the number of participants should go up next year.

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