Thousands gather for rowing competition

The 2010 Florida Scholastic Rowing Association championships. which opened this morning at Nathan Benderson Park, has attracted thousands of participants and spectators.

The park is located near the southwest corner of I-75 and University Parkway just south of the Manatee County line.

The event continues today until 7 p.m. and resumes 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Nearly 40 clubs and schools are represented. Admission is free and open to the public. Parking is available at University Town Center.

Organizers of the event have said they want to make the locale the number one rowing venue in the United States. Supporters include economic development interests, businesses, and local government.

Bob Gause, a Manatee County School Board member, attended the opening ceremony and said he would like to see local schools begin to develop rowing programs.