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Grand Rapids Rowing Association Hosts Championship Regatta on the Grand River

March 29, 2012

Grand Rapids Rowing Association will host the 2012 Mid-American Collegiate Rowing Association (MACRA) Championship Regatta on April 28 on the Grand River. Varnum is proud to be a sponsor of this inaugural event, hosted by the Grand Rapids Rowing Association.

More than a thousand rowers are expected to participate in the MACRA Regatta with an additional thousand onlookers and supporters attending the races. The event will include several heat races starting at 8:00 a.m. and will continue on through the afternoon. The 2,000-meter race begins at Riverside Park and ends just north of the Ann Street bridge. Participating teams include college and university rowing teams from across the nation, including University of Delaware and Big 10 teams such as Notre Dame and the University of Michigan.

To support the volume of rowers participating in the Regatta, the Grand Rapids Rowing Association will build a series of temporary docks and place buoys in the river marking the race route. The economic impact of the event is estimated to be $350,000. 

The MACRA Regatta was first held in Grand Rapids in 2007; since then, the event, as well as the popularity of rowing in West Michigan, has grown significantly, said Landon Bartley, president of the GRRA. The Rowing Association and the West Michigan Sports Commission worked to bring the regatta back to Grand Rapids, announcing their success in May 2011.

The history of rowing on the Grand River can be traced back more than 100 years to the 1890s. The sport of rowing continued until the Grand Rapids Rowing Association officially incorporated in 1986 as an effort to organize rowing in the area. The Association runs high school, collegiate and adult recreational and competitive rowing programs, including learn to row classes and rowing competitions, as well as community benefit events, such as the Eights for Hope regatta to benefit cancer research.

For more information on the MACRA Regatta or the Grand Rapids Rowing Association, visit the Grand Rapids Rowing association website.

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