Niagara Falls Rowing Club sailing along
Niagara Falls Rowing Club president Tony Arcuri is shown with three of the singles the club will christen Sunday.
The Niagara Falls Rowing Club is adding to its fleet.
This Sunday at 11 a.m., the club will host its third annual christening ceremony at its boathouse in Bukator Park off the Chippawa Parkway in Niagara Falls.
The club will christen three new singles and an existing double.
“They call it a christening, but it is more of a way of honouring people,” said club president and co-founder Tony Arcuri. “These are people who contribute financially through volunteerism or in-kind services and are very supportive of our club.”
The single are being christened: the Water Dragon in honour of the Wang family; the John Rene in honour of the Gauthier family; and, In Memory of Brent Rolfe. The double will be christened in the Memory of Amedeo Santini.
“Brent was a member and coach,” Arcuri said. “He was a great volunteer and he passed away suddenly this spring.”
Rolfe is dearly missed.
“He was great with the kids, he was the guy who went into Westlane to try and get a Westlane program going, he ran our bingo program and did most of the bingos himself along with his daughter and wife, he helped us coach the high school and masters rowers and he was a masters rower as well,” Arcuri said. “And he owned his own equipment and he shared it with the club.”
Santini and his family have been big contributors to rowing at Saint Paul high school and with the club.
Sunday’s christening will also recognize the contribution’s of Cascades NY Inc., Little Brothers Car Sales and Cournoyea family to the club’s Adopt an Oar program.
Before adding the boats, the club had: an old eight and an old octet (an eight with sculling riggers) for training purposes; three racing quads; two older quads; seven doubles; and, seven singles.
Next up on the horizon for the club is a $130,000 plan to increase the size of the club’s boathouse
“It has been a great success and it is almost imploding because of that success,” Arcuri said. “It it too, too much for us at times with the facility and we had to have an expansion plan.”
That plan is in its initial stages.
“It is still in the planning process with fundraising and bureaucracy, but we are running out of space,” Arcuri said. “We have portable racks and we are having to move boats in and out.”
The goal is to expand the facility in the next two years and the funding will come from donations, grants and fundraising. Memberships fees collected are use for operating expenses.
The club has been at its current location for four years after starting in the backyard of coach Werner Verbraeken’s home on Lyon’s Creek Road in the summer of 2012. The first summer saw the club training 10 teens in two singles.
“We had a little informal program and it just took off,” Arcuri said.
The club has grown to 125 members, including about 50 athletes in the high school and competitive group. Twelve coaches registered with Rowing Ontario but only Arcuri and Verbraeken are full time.
With that rapid growth has come success.
The Niagara Falls club had a masters quad that won Henley last year and masters double that won Henley this year. In the main portion of this year’s Henley, the club had three boats make finals.