‘Dam’ it, the Race Goes On!

            The Rochester Memorial Boat Race has seen torrents of rain some years, empty arid riverbeds in others, some with sweltering heat, and then, like this year’s Memorial Day, one with weather so perfect that it’s one slated for the record books. But on Friday after a dam burst and Grandma Hartley’s Pond was swiftly draining, those who took to social media out of concern for the boat race weren’t so sure there was going to be one this year.

            Luckily for them, the ones who organize the beloved race year after year are professionals, and they are dedicated to making this race happen and, as always, without a hitch.

            While the state surveyed the damage and devised a strategy on how to deal with the burst bog flume that essentially drained an entire pond, race organizers managed to work with what they had and were able to facilitate a race that was relatively unchanged with perhaps some extra safety measures put in place, such as extra first aid staff at the location of the dam, just in case.

            Otherwise, like all the races that preceded it, this one was a success.

            “One of the nicest Memorial Days in a long, long time,” Boat Race Chairman Art Benner told The Wandererin a follow-up email. “Hot for the racers, but a great spectator day. People actually hung around the finish for quite a while this year.

            “It’s a great event for our Tri-Town area,” said Benner.

            Forty-three teams crossed the finish line Monday. Taking first place was Team 4, Dan Lawrence and William Watling III, their third consecutive win for the Jim Hartley trophy with a time of 1:48:08. Team 1, Samantha and Ethan Hathaway, took first place for the co-ed plaque, their third consecutive win with a time of 2:01:46. Caitlyn Stopka and Emma Knox of Team 31 won the first place women’s division plaque, their third consecutive win as well, with a time of 2:18:08.

            Mario Conde was dubbed the Old Man River 2019.

By Jean Perry

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