Rowing club cancels its largest regatta of the year

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – More than 450 rowers and their families will have to cancel their Sunday plans now that the first regatta of the season has been canceled.

The West Side Rowing Club announced Friday that the John Bennett Regatta, which would have taken place on May 4, has been canceled.

The ice boom has taken longer to remove due to accumulated ice, some of which is still three-feet thick, along the boom itself. That ice has filled the canal with thick chunks of ice.

The rowing club says the floating ice combined with a water temperature around 30 degrees and the 30 MPH wind gusts forecasted for Sunday has forced officials to cancel the regatta.

The loss to the area is substantial. The West Side Rowing Club says 20 rowing clubs, 11 of which are from outside the Buffalo area, were set to come to WNY.

The John Bennett Regatta is the club’s largest, and more than 1,000 people attend it annually. The rowing club says the decision to cancel is devastating due to the financial burden. It released this statement:

“The West Side Rowing Club extends its apologies to local and visiting teams and Buffalo-area fans for the short cancellation notice of this event, but stands firm in this decision of ensuring safety for all.”

The next regatta for the rowing club is the Fontana All High Regatta on Memorial Day, May 26. Events begin at 9:00 am and continue throughout the afternoon. The regatta is free to the public.

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