Rain doesn't dampen Oklahoma City Regatta Festival

BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Modified: September 29, 2012 at 9:10 pm •  Published: September 30, 2012

The rowing crews expected to get wet; it only makes sense that spectators take on a little water themselves.

Rain, sometimes streaming steady and other times but a drizzle, dampened attendance Saturday at the Oklahoma Regatta Festival but it didn't dampen the fun.

Most attendees, like Amy Brown, director of radiology at Integris Baptist Medical Center, were there to support friends or family.

With her son, Keaton, 12, in tow, Brown said she raced for the hospital's corporate team the night before, but came out again Saturday to support her team in a separate heat.

Watching from atop a bridge that spans the Oklahoma River, Brown said it didn't surprise her that turnout was lower than usual.

“Before I started rowing I came as a spectator but it was a nice, pretty day,” she said. “Oklahoma City in general? Yeah, they're probably laying around in bed watching football today.”

But some did brave the murky weather for a little river racing activity.

Gary and Kak Anderson, visiting from Kansas City, sipped a blonde ale and chardonnay, respectively, while watching the races from underneath the canopy at the beer and wine garden operated by Belle Isle Restaurant and Brewing Co.

Vacationing here until Monday, the couple saw signs advertising the regatta and thought they would check it out.

“We drove all this way, we're not going to just sit in the hotel room,” Gary Anderson said.

“But we don't have the slightest idea what's going on,” interrupted his wife, laughing. “Our kid was in baseball, so we don't even know the rules of this game.”

Turns out, the rules are rather simple — at least from the perspective of the experienced.

“Rowers know how to do two things: row and screw up,” said Shawn Blake, a member of the Wichita State Shockers crew, who carried the oars while his teammates carried the boat — the shell, they call it — to the shoreline. “It's the coxswain's job to make sure we do one and not the other.”

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