The 2013 U.S. Rowing Masters National Championships begins Thursday, so here's a primer on what you'll need to know when catching the action this weekend at Nathan Benderson Park:
Who they are
Masters are competitors already 21 years old or will attain that age during this calendar year, except for coxswains, the boat navigators not required to be masters. There are more than 1,000 entries from 28 states and Canada competing over four days. The oldest competitor is 84-year-old Alvin Felman from The Steward's Foundation team competing in the men's J single sculls and men's lightweight J single sculls.
General admission is $5 each day. Competitors are given a wristband for entry.
There are multiple parking areas with two prices. Fans may park close to the action on Regatta Island for $10 a day. There's also a VIP parking area on the island. In addition, two areas for general parking will cost $5 each day, which includes a trolley service to the venue. The main general parking area and overflow parking lot are near Cattlemen Road.
A variety of local vendors will be available with food and beverages. There also will be a beer garden set up for those of age.
Best spot to watch
There are two spots where fans will have the best visibility: the grandstand set up on Regatta Island and an area along the beach. From those spots, you'll get a good sense of what is going on without missing much.
There are 199 events across 11 categories broken down into quarters for each day. Heats begin at 8 a.m. daily with finals varying each day. An awards presentation follows the finals. Thursday's finals run from 10:38 a.m.-1:54 p.m., while Friday's finals are from 10 a.m.-1:12 p.m., Saturday's are from 10:15 a.m.-1:27 p.m. and Sunday's are from 9:30 a.m.-12:34 p.m. The times are estimated.
On the second night of the competition, the public is invited to an Appreciation Party with appetizers and other food as well as drinks and live music from Pub Mustard from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Friday on Regatta Island. Spectators are allowed to bring cameras and cell phones.
-- Jason Dill, Herald staff writer