After serving as the primary co-organizers and co-sponsors of the Head of the Genesee Invitational Regatta, Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Rochester will turn over management of the event to the Genesee Waterways Center.
The center has been a longtime partner with the universities in organizing and presenting this annual community event. The center wants the opportunity to expand the regatta to a two-day event with rowing options beyond its current intercollegiate and high school competitions. In recent years, rowing teams from Rochester, Buffalo, and other eastern high schools have competed. This year's regatta will be held Oct. 6 and 7.
"On behalf of the regatta management committee, I want to thank the community for its support in making the regatta a premier rowing competition," said Deborah Stendardi, RIT vice president of government and community relations and chair of the management committee. The event began in 1989 as the Bausch & Lomb Invitational Regatta for seven years, and then was renamed the Stonehurst Capital Invitational Regatta for 11 years. It was called the Head of the Genesee last fall.
"The regatta has stimulated growing interest and participation from the local rowing community, and so it seems timely for the universities to turn over the event to the Genesee Waterways Center," said Stendardi. "We are confident GWC will continue the great tradition that's been established and that this regatta will grow and flourish under its leadership. RIT is very proud to have been part of this event for the past 11 years."
Paul Burgett, vice president, general secretary, and senior advisor to the president of the University of Rochester, stated that many dedicated people have made it possible for student-athletes to compete in Rochester's own regatta. "Together, we succeeded in drawing crowds to the Genesee River—a startling idea in the 1980s when we began. The potential is there to continue the tradition."
"The Genesee Waterways Center is truly delighted to have the opportunity to expand the regatta to a two-day event and wishes to thank the UR and RIT for their help in making this transfer a very smooth transition," said Dennis Money, executive director of the Genesee Waterways Center. The plan is for the two-day regatta to host high school competitions, a new masters competition and the Corporate Challenge event on the first day. "On Sunday, the races will focus on the colleges and universities, patterning the traditional regatta format," Money said.
The Genesee Waterways Center is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote water sports such as rowing and kayaking in an effort to help people recreate, improve self-esteem, and learn teamwork. In 2006, more than 3,000 people took classes and attended events at the center's headquarters in Genesee Valley Park as well as at its white water kayaking park on the Erie Canal's Lock 32 off Clover Street.