SCOTIA — Niskayuna rowing parent Susan Harper explained the importance of rowing to participants, as well as the time commitment Sunday when she paused.
“I’m sorry to be turning,” Harper said. “I think this may be her boat.”
The mother of 10th-grader Sally Harper turned with her husband, Gil, to cheer Sally and the rest of her rowers on at the Mohawk Fall Classic Regatta on Sunday on the Mohawk River at Scotia.
The Niskayuna parents clapped and cheered as the boat headed by Sally Harper rowed past.
“Pride,” Susan Harper said of what she thought after watching the boat, “a ton of pride. Because she’s worked so hard. They all work so hard.”
Parents and rowers from around the region got to see all their hard work in action in a day of racing.
Parents and rowers also got their latest opportunity to spend a day along the river with their rowing families as they spent the gorgeous fall day at their team-branded tents, watching for passing boats and enjoying the food and company.
The event, hosted by Burnt Hills Rowing, marked its 17th year Sunday, the fifth rowing from near Jumpin’ Jacks in Scotia.
A total of 12 clubs competed over 26 events for juniors (school-age rowers) and and masters (adults). Burnt Hills posted results to Twitter at @MohawkRegatta.
Sunday’s event benefited from the weather, organizers said. What had been an iffy start to the day turned sunny and breezy.
The weather allowed spectators to spread out and enjoy the races with their extended families, said Sharon Rouis, a Burnt Hills parent and regatta organizing committee member.
“This sport is very much a family sport. There’s a lot of camaraderie,” said Rouis.
At the Shenendehowa tent, members watched the river and cheered on their rowers. A loud “Go Shen!” could be heard as a Shen boat passed.
Mother Nancy Paulsen was among those who cheered on the Shen rowers, including her sons.
“To see the work that they’re putting into it and what it’s going to do for them later on, it’s worthwhile,” Paulsen said.
Son Toby, an 11th-grader, raced early in the day. He told of the particular difficulties of the course, the wind and the current.
The spectators are massed at one spot, rather than on the full route.
“It helps so much,” Toby Paulsen said of the cheers. Rather than head-to-head races, Sunday’s event was a time trial, meaning the boats didn’t race directly against each other.
“Coming around the corner and hearing it is really a boost,” Toby said. “It really helps us come all the way through.”
Further down the bank, Albany Rowing gathered near its tent.
Patrick Thompson, a parent and member of the Albany Rowing board of directors, talked of the physical demands of the sport and the day.
“As a parent, you watch and you observe and you can appreciate how much effort they’re putting in,” Thompson said.
The Niskayuna Rowing family put out a spread under their tent that included burgers and chicken. Parents prepared the lunch and helped dish it out.
Parent Dan McManus, also Niskayuna’s police chief, enjoyed the lunch and the day while watching his son Peter row.
“It’s exciting to watch all the kids work together as a group,” the father said.
For the next regatta, parents plan to gather with a lunch featuring baked potatoes, Niskayuna Rowing president Chris Wolfe said.
It’s just part of the experience of rowing, Wolfe said.
“We’re all here for the day, so we try to make it as fun and as comfortable as possible,” Wolfe said, “and make sure the rowers have the food they need and we have a good view of the 30 seconds that we see them go by.”