GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — On Friday night, a sea of row boats took over Riverside Park in Grand Rapids for the 2019 USRowing Masters National Championship.
There were teams from 33 states and six countries there competing head to head.
“Team San Diego is up there, team Boulder is down there. So, we have a little bit of everybody,” said Katy Tigchelaar with the West Michigan Sports Commission.
The regatta is a four-day event that brings thousands of people to the city. This is the second time the race has been hosted in Grand Rapids.
“We have a few medals already but we’re hoping to get some more,” said Gretchen Abell, who competes for the Capital Rowing Team out of Washington D.C. “Every race is a challenge and there’s a lot of great competition here.”
Some teams say they have been training for more than six months.
“We’ve been practicing a lot. I know I’ve put in a lot of work and everyone else has put in a lot of work as well,” said Paulina Guerrero, who competes with Austin Rowing Club from Texas.
Organizers lined up more than 30 local vendors to sell beer, clothing and merchandise.
They say they’re expecting the weekend event to have an economic impact of $1.8 million.
“So many vendors that we had to use, which is great because it’s local businesses that are getting these dollars,” Tigchelaar said. “That $1.8 million impact comes from people spending money in our hotels, eating in our restaurants, drinking beers in our breweries and shopping in our stores.”
The event continues through Sunday. It is free of charge to watch the regatta.