Shells by the lakeshoreThe 15th annual rowing event draws nearly 500 competitors from up and down the West Coast

BY CHRIS HANSEN

The Register-Guard

Posted to Web: SaturdayApr 11, 2009 09:36PM 
Appeared in print: 
SundayApr 12, 2009, page C3

Sports: Home: Story

LOWELL — With a smile and a grunt, James Beasley pulled his single-man racing shell out of the water, hoisted it onto his right shoulder and casually strolled off the dock.

It was a pleasurable return to Dexter Lake for the Boston architect, if not a winning one.

Nearly a year after Beasley left Eugene to head east, the University of Oregon alum cashed in a graduation present and came back to compete in the Covered Bridge Regatta.

He joined approximately 500 other high school, collegiate and post-collegiate (“masters”) rowers representing 25 clubs from Oregon, Washington and California, who participated in the day-long, 40-race event that celebrated its 15th year on Saturday under a mostly sunny — and dry — sky.

“It’s fun. It’s beautiful here. I’m really sad I left,” Beasley said. “It’s absolutely fantastic. As a lake, I mean, there’s days you go out there and it’s sunny with a rainbow, (or) it’s snowing or warm. You get everything at once. It’s just a great place to be.”

During his three years of graduate school at Oregon, Beasley was a coach at Dexter Lake for the Oregon Association of Rowers (OAR), the club team that hosts the Covered Bridge Regatta.

“I think it’s amazing,” said Beasley, 32, a Boston native. “Coming from the East Coast where rowing is more established, this is a much more community-oriented event. It feels very comfortable, and it seems to draw everyone from the Northwest to come here. This just doesn’t happen anywhere else. (OAR is) a fairly unique club in its openness and acceptance of other people and encouragement of rowing. It’s really cool.”

OAR had about 100 members competing on Saturday, including race director and club president Anita Larson, whose women’s Masters eight-plus “B” team finished fifth in a race won by the OAR “A” team.

“We had a great row,” Larson said.

Beasley didn’t have the same feeling about his performance.

“I was all over the course,” said Beasley, who finished fifth in the men’s Masters singles. “I lost my oar twice.”

Seattle Pacific University coach Keith Jefferson had better luck with his team.

By mid-morning, the Falcons men’s team had a pair of second-place finishes and a victory in the men’s collegiate quad.

“The water today has been fantastic, and the wind’s been cooperative,” Jefferson said. “It was a little bit squirrelly at the start … but after you got out of the starting area, it was absolutely terrific.”

Seattle Pacific was one of nine college teams at the regatta, including the UO crew club team.

“This is definitely one of the better courses (in the Northwest),” said Jefferson, who is in his 21st season at Seattle Pacific. “Most of these things are pretty austere, and it’s not a great spectator sport, I’ll be honest. But the community seems to really embrace it well and they’re very cooperative, and in fact, very helpful and positive and welcoming. … In that respect, we love it.”

Jefferson said he also appreciates that Dexter Lake is the only course between Seattle and Sacramento that has permanently marked lanes.

“That’s fairly rare, even for our sport, to get a course that’s fully buoyed,” Jefferson said. “It’s real easy to stay in your lane and get a true test … It’s hard to find a cooperative course that’s 2,000 meters true that has good weather, good water and is a fully bouyed course. It’s just really hard to find.”

Complete regatta results will be published in the April 20 Community Sports section of The Register-Guard.

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Story photo and/or graphic

BRIAN DAVIES/THE REGISTER-GUARD

James Beasley carries his 28-pound racing shell from Dexter Reservoir after finishing first in his race Saturday at the Covered Bridge Regatta.
Sierra Kistler and McCall Anderson of the Ashland Rowing Club compete during the Covered Bridge Regatta Saturday at Dexter Reservoir.
Story photo and/or graphic

BRIAN DAVIES/THE REGISTER-GUARD

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Sports: Home: Photo
Story photo and/or graphic

BRIAN DAVIES/THE REGISTER-GUARD

James Beasley carries his 28-pound racing shell from Dexter Reservoir after finishing first in his race Saturday at the Covered Bridge Regatta.
Sierra Kistler and McCall Anderson of the Ashland Rowing Club compete during the Covered Bridge Regatta Saturday at Dexter Reservoir.
Story photo and/or graphic

BRIAN DAVIES/THE REGISTER-GUARD

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