Tinker Rowing Teams training for upcoming regatta

  • Published
  • By Mike W. Ray
  • Staff Writer
Tinker AFB has two rowing teams that are training to compete in the Corporate Classic Regatta at the end of this month in downtown Oklahoma City.

Senior members of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center comprise the Tinker Lead-Oars team, and the base legal staff constitutes the Quid Pro Row team.

According to Col. David W. Penczar, staff judge advocate with the OC-ALC, "We'll compete in the 'landlubbers' category for first-time rowers" during the 500-meter regatta. The event is scheduled for June 30, during the first day of the two-day Stars & Stripes River Festival on the Oklahoma River.

Interest in developing a Tinker rowing team was sparked by the colonel's wife, Jennifer, who "has been doing the corporate league for three seasons as part of the Rosary Moms team," he said. She urged Colonel Penczar to assemble a team, and when Maj. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, the OC-ALC commander, recommended the league as a great way for Tinker to participate in a growing community event, the idea took off and became reality.

Each member of the two teams paid a set fee. In exchange, the OKC Boathouse Foundation provided each team with an eight-person shell, a coach and a coxswain (a steersman who directs the rowers), about a dozen rowing lessons during the spring season (water safety, learning to row, etc.), weekly socials and cookouts, and a pass for unlimited access throughout the season to one of the two state-of-the-art boathouses on the river.

"They teach you everything you need to know" about rowing in sync with one's teammates, Colonel Penczar said. "It's a fantastic program!"

The Tinker teams practice for an hour and a half once a week: Quid Pro Row on Wednesday mornings, the Lead-Oars on Friday mornings.

The Tinker Lead-Oars include General Litchfield, Col. Mark Beierle, Robert Boyles, Don Davis, Telin Ozier, Colonel Penczar, Col. Joseph Wilson, Col. Stephen Wood, and Laura Young. Alternates are Joann Berrett, Col. Mallory Knight and Maj. Nicholas Pellegrino. Megan Duffy is the Lead-Oars' coach.

Members of Quid Pro Row are Lt. Col. David Vercellone, Capt. Peter Anderson, Capt. Heather Bishop, Capt. Elizabeth Crane, Capt. Sean Garner, Capt. Nathan Mayenschein, Ken Kitzmiller and Michael Taber. Their coach is Gena Terrill.

"We hope Tinker personnel will come out and watch the regatta; it's a nice community event," Colonel Penczar said. "It would be great if other units and organizations decided to enter next season. It's truly a team sport. Our JAGs already can't wait to race under the lights in the Fall Night Sprints."