Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Manatee's got rowing fans in some high places

Gee, I didn't realize we had so many rowing fans in such high places.
Did you?
It was semi-amusing to read the list of our town's officials flying to Switzerland on the public dime to sell the International Federation of Rowing Associations that Sarasota-Bradenton should host the 2017 World Rowing Championship.
Elliott Falcione, the Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director?
OK, he is the county tourism chief and there's some serious tourism money to be made if we get that event four years hence.
Manatee County Commissioner Larry Bustle?
Well, he is the commission chairman. I'll bite.
But Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker, too?
One county administration exec ought to be enough on this entourage that includes several Sarasota representatives, which makes sense since the Benderson Park rowing complex is in Sarasota.
So how did Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston get in on this deal?
Hizzoner must be along to show Bustle and Hunzeker where to go in Zurich and Lucerne for a good time.
Which brings me to the destination of this junket.
In the Alps?
I thought the Swiss were all about skiing.
Given the public money being invested in this excursion, it better succeed.
That the Manatee Tourism Development Council is paying for the Manatee delegation out of visitor bed taxes is only part of it. There's the $2.7 million Manatee and Sarasota County will each guarantee for the 2017 championship, too.
Our competition for the big event is Bulgaria.
We'll find out the winner when the rowing federation meets in September.
In South Korea.
Haven't these rowing people heard of Orlando?

1 comment:

  1. Ya, it is a lil short-sighted when delegates from Manatee tagged along and none of the representatives have nor will ever gain any "On the water" actual rowing "in-the-seat" experience. It would have been more appropriate for a local rowing coach (whom usually is paid very little and doesn't have the income to afford an international flight) to join the delegation. I'm not a local Manatee County coach (disclaimer - I'm a Manatee County Home Owner/Tax Payer and have competed in international rowing competitions). I have a better understanding of how the quality of a race course will attract participants and the sponsors that help competitors afford the expense of attending. I was sponsored over 20 years ago after helping establish youth rowing in Sarasota. I haven’t been sitting in the shadows either I did reach-out the Manatee County Administrator’s office and expressed my interest in helping in May 2010. I’m well aware of our surrounding amenities and the Fort Hamer boathouse and the winter training that is held there. I intend to volunteer and help keep rowing regattas and other water-sports a healthy and economically beneficial part of our community. Just remember that sending the highest paid representatives isn’t always the best use of the tourism dollars…send a local member of the community who understands what it could mean to host the World Championship.