The Central Alberta Rowing Club is returning for another year and is hoping to attract new members with their Learn To Row session.
The event, which takes place May 26th-27th at Lacombe Lake, introduces anyone and everyone to to the sport of rowing.
Andy Nokes, president of the Club, has been involved in the Club since 2003 when it first started on Sylvan Lake.
Nokes said Lacombe Lake has been accommodating for the Club’s growth and needs.
“We started off with three boats and now we have about 20,” he said, adding that the Club used to be on private property on Lacombe Lake before moving to their current location on Lacombe County land.
“We first approached Lacombe County in 2010 for a new location on the lake and in 2016 they offered the use of an old road allowance,” he said.
The Club has since redeveloped the road allowance, with everything on the property being pre-fabricated and temporary.
The redevelopment led to lower numbers in 2017, but Nokes is hoping for a greater turnout this year.
“We have done a lot of fundraising and we have been working with the high schools,” he said. “In 2016 we ran a gym program with Lindsay Thurber and we have also worked with Lacombe Composite High School.
“We would like to build that up with the high schools.”
Along with the Learn to Row sessions which are targeted to adult rowers, the Club is also hosting a Youth Camp from July 2nd-6th.
“We have refurbished three training boats for that event,” he said, adding all the changes that have been made have been done with lake’s ecosystem in mind.
“With our environmental footprint, we need to keep it as small as possible,” he said.
Once the season is up and running, rowers will have the opportunity to compete in Olympic-style regattas.
“If you want to row in a regatta, there is a place for you in a boat,” he said.
“It is a little different than some sports that where if you don’t make it, you’d be sitting on the bench. Here you are sitting on the boat.”
The Club travels to regattas all over the province.
“There is a regatta in Alberta on the Glenmore Reservoir in Calgary with the Calgary Rowing Club, there is a regatta on the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton with the Edmonton Rowing Club and there is a beautiful 2,000 metre course near Leduc,” he said.
“We have juniors, seniors and we have masters which is 27 and over. I am over 60 and I still race and I think it is fun because everyone rows.”
Lacombe Lake is the ideal lake to train for these events, according to Nokes.
Part of the reason we left Sylvan Lake is that if it wasn’t rough from the weather, it was rough because of the power boats. This lake is 2.5 km long and it is the ideal length for training,” he said.
He added that competitive rowing is only part of the Club and that anyone can come out and row around the lake.
“Our training boats are good for people concerned about balance. Some people like to come row and look around, so there is something for everyone here,” he said.
He added the Learn to Row event is for anyone who is interested.
“It gives you a taste of what rowing is about. It gives you the pleasure of being out in the open and using your own energy to propel yourself along the lake. It is a beautiful way to be outside in the fresh air,” he said.