By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
“A Perfect Finish” wine and food tasting event will be held Friday, November 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Chesapeake Finish Line Tower and the Devon Boathouse at the Oklahoma River. The event is a fundraiser for the OKC RIVERSPORT Chesapeake Junior Crew.
The event will feature a silent auction, a dozen wines and food from local restaurants.
David Lack from Broadway Wine Merchants said, “We are looking forward to sharing a wide variety of great wines from all over the world with our friends and patrons of OKC Jr. Crew.”
Tickets are $60 per person with proceeds going directly toward the purchase of boats for the Junior Crew.
“This is a great opportunity to try some excellent wines you may not have tasted before and order wine for the holidays at a 20 percent discount,” said event organizer Julie Tubb. “The restaurants will be offering food that specifically pairs with the wines being offered.”
Food from several popular metro eateries will be featured including: Cupcake Heaven, Someplace Else Deli & Bakery, 3 Monkeys Cakes and Cookies, CocoFlow, The Wedge Pizzeria, Soup Soup, VZD’s, Whole Foods Market, Museum Café, RedPin Restaurant, Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse, Aunt Pittypat’s Catering, Belle Isle Brewery and the Saturn Grill.
The Junior Crew, for youth ages 13-19, helps prepare young rowers for competition across the nation and for potential collegiate and national team rowing opportunities. Rowers from all backgrounds and all levels of athletic ability are welcome
Recently, the women’s team placed 2nd in the Women’s Youth Eights race at the 49th annual Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, the world’s largest regatta.
In 2013, twelve Junior Crew members, who are graduating high school seniors, were offered the opportunity to row in college, many on scholarships, at universities including Yale, the University of Central Florida and the University of Oklahoma.
Charlotte McMeekin, a junior at Classen School of Advanced Studies in Oklahoma City has been a member of the Junior Crew for 6 years.
“I was kind of young when I started and I wasn’t the most athletic 7th grader ever. But I stuck with it and I love it,” she said. “It has really helped me learn self-discipline and goal setting. I think it’s a great sport and it’s a sport that you get out what you put into it.”
Saxon Alton, a Bishop McGuiness, High School senior, is Captain of the Varsity Boys rowing team and has been on the crew for 4 years. While recovering from a broken ankle he got while playing basketball, his mother suggested he check out the rowing team on the Oklahoma River.
“I came down to the Boathouse and said, ‘Whoa, this is really cool.’ I had no idea this was going on down here. The next thing I know I’m coming here six days a week for three hours a day. It became my main sport for the rest of high school,” Alton said. “I really love this sport. It’s blessed me with a lot of different viewpoints about life and people from all different backgrounds.”
Those interested in rowing should visit the Chesapeake Boathouse, meet the coach and watch a practice. The first two weeks are free.
“You’ll find rowing provides competition like no other, and it will put you in the best physical condition of your life,” said Junior Crew coach Jim Anderson. ”Cardiovascular conditioning, strength, balance, flexibility, and unparalleled teamwork – rowing brings it all together on the water.”
The Junior Crew recruits new members at the beginning of each season in August/September and January. Practices are held from August through May, with select athletes who make the US Rowing Youth National Championships team practicing until that event in mid-June.
“I know we’re in a landlocked state, but you really need to come check out what’s going on downtown,” Alton added. “If you can get them here, they’re going to love it.”
For more information about “A Perfect Finish” sponsorships or to purchase tickets, visit APerfectFinish.org. To learn more about the Chesapeake Junior Crew, call 405-552-4040.