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Royal St. John’s Regatta committee president wants to grow sport across the province

The Barry Group take the lead in the first women’s race against Key Assets of St. John’s at the 2018 Corner Brook Regatta Saturday morning at Brake’s Cove. The Humber Valley Rowing Club women’s team won the race.
The Barry Group take the lead in the first women’s race against Key Assets of St. John’s at the 2018 Corner Brook Regatta Saturday morning at Brake’s Cove. The Humber Valley Rowing Club women’s team won the race. - Dave Kearsey

People rowing in every nook and cranny in the province would create the perfect picture for St. John’s native Chris Neary.

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Neary, who took over as president of the Royal St. John’s Regatta Committee in January with the 200th anniversary race on the horizon, is focused on promoting the various regattas held annually throughout the province with hopes of growing the numbers in fixed seating rowing right across the province.

When Neary took over the helm this year, his priority list included a commitment to send regatta committee members to regattas in Placentia, Harbour Grace, the 200th St. John’s Royal Regatta and the Corner Brook Regatta to do what he could to offer support to the organizing committees and promote the sport in any way they can including through social media outlets.

Neary, vice-president Brad Power and general manager LeighAnne O’Neill were on hand for the Corner Brook Regatta on Saturday and they were pleased with how everything unfolded.

Neary said he was impressed with how a small organizing committee was able to put off such a great event whereby food, music and refreshments added to the festive atmosphere that met them at the dock when they arrived. He gave the organizing committee a big thumbs up for checking off all the boxes for all the things that were key to making it a great event.

He was pleased to see there was a good crowd on hand to watch all the action and people from all walks of life were all smiles as they watch the rowers battle high winds and strong currents in an effort to get through the race.

“They should be proud of themselves because they had a great turnout and I never spoke to a single person out there who said they didn’t enjoy themselves so it certainly a great day,” Neary said Tuesday from St. John’s.

Neary believes the various regattas see the profile of their event raised when he and members of his committee are on hand because they make every effort to promote it through various social media avenues and continue to support the growth of the sport across the island by encouraging rowers on both sides of the province willing to travel across the province to show support for those with a passion for the sport.

For Neary, it’s all about being willing to help groups get rowing going and helping them grow the sport. He would love to see more people in the boats next summer and would love to see more and more west coast boats going to the east coast and vice-versa.

Neary actually found himself in the boat in Corner Brook after he was asked to fill in as coxswain for Key Assets of St. John’s when their coxswain wasn’t able to make the road trip to the east coast.

It was something he did almost a decade ago when he discovered the Corner Brook regatta as an avid rower at the time and he was happy to get back to the west coast again.

He had a lot of fun back then and it was no different this time so it’s safe to say he had no qualms about where he spent the weekend.

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