While there's a chance of showers Monday morning for the Rochester Memorial Day Boat Race, that will not phase the athletes in the least. A Tri-Town tradition since 1934, young and old have shaken off wind and rain to compete in one of the most time honored events on the SouthCoast.

The only thing that could stop this race over the past 87 years was a worldwide pandemic, but with COVID restrictions dropping with only two days to spare, the event is scheduled to go on as planned.

The Rochester Memorial Day Boat race is a rite of passage for many kids in the Tri-Town area. Records, winners, and "also rans" are talked about (bragged about) for generations.

One of the more interested aspects of the boat race is that it requires boaters to both paddle and portage their vessels across dry spots and even across the street.

Courtesy of Colin Veitch

Another curveball depends on how high the river is on that particular day. The stone bridge can become a bit of an obstacle.

Courtesy of Colin Veitch

While there are some children as young as seven and teens that compete in the boat race, don't make the mistake of thinking this is child's play. The athletes are all required to build their own homemade boat for the race. The boat can be made of any material they like, and racers can use any paddles they choose.

As always, the boat race will be on Monday morning, Memorial Day, at 8:30 a.m. It will start at Grandma Hartley’s Reservoir on Snipatuit Road in Rochester and finish at the Mattapoisett Herring Weir neat the Lebanese Kitchen.

There are a number of different divisions including open/men’s, women’s, under 14 boys, under 14 girls, co-ed and parent/child (an adult 25 or older paired with a child under 14).

Photo courtesy of Colin Veitch

Trophies are awarded to the first, second, and third place finishers in each division.

Here are the start times for the registered racers:

Bill Watling

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