Council Committees OK Tri-Oswego, Dragon Boat Plans

OSWEGO, NY – At its meeting Tuesday night, the Physical Services Committee paved the way the second edition of Tri-Oswego as well as the first Dragon Boat Community Festival.

Mayor Tom Gillen said he received correspondence from Shane Broadwell, Tri-Oswego Triathlon race director, requesting use of several city properties for the Tri-Oswego 2012 Triathlon on June 16 and 17.

Swimmers Tri-Oswego
Swimmers hit the water at the start of the Tri-Oswego event in 2011. The 2012 edition is being planned for this summer.

Broadwell has requested to set up in several areas on June 14. He is also requesting use of the McCrobie building bathrooms on June 15 and 16.

And, he requested that the Noise Ordinance be waived for June 16, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Last year’s inaugural event was a huge success, he told the councilors. Hundreds of athletes of all ages competed last June in the events. Family activities were also held throughout the weekend at Wright’s Landing and Breitbeck Park.

Broadwell’s father competed in a Triathlon and suggested the Port City host such an event.

“There’s nothing like what we have here in Oswego,” Broadwell said at the committee meeting. “More than 255 athletes participated in last year’s event. For our first year, we were very, very happy.”

Fifty-eight of the athletes were from Oswego, 148 were from around Central New York, 37 were from all over New York State, four came from Canada and eight from other states including Colorado, Florida, New Hampshire, Maryland and Virginia.

He credited the assistance he received from several city departments as well as Coast Guard and Border Patrol with making the event run so smoothly.

The event was USA Triathlon sanctioned. USA Triathlon is the sanctioning authority for more than 3,000 different races worldwide, ranging from grassroots to high profile events.  They work to organize camps, clinic, educational opportunities and races.  USA Triathlon has 130,000 members consisting of athletes, coaches, officials and fans.

Participants of the event are able to choose if they want to do the sprint or intermediate courses. The sprint course consists of an 800-meter swim in Oswego Harbor, a 13-mile bike course and a 5K-run.  The intermediate distance event will consist of a 1,000 meter swim, 24.9-mile bike course and a 10K-run.

Visitors to the 2011 event praised Breitbeck Park as a great place to view the activity – most of which was within walking distance of the various other family events.

“The feedback that we have (from last year) has been great. Everybody really worked well together,” Broadwell said. “We’re excited about this year’s event.”

“It’s a family event,” Councilor Mike Myers agreed. “I wish you a lot of luck again this year.”

“Our situation here couldn’t be more perfect,” added Sue Matthews of Scriba. “I think that Oswego is one of the best kept secrets around. This is a tight-knit group of people who take part in these; they’ll spread the word to others. This could be the best triathlon in the country. It’s going to grow and grow.”

Broadwell noted that organizers would like to keep the event with manageable numbers.

“This is a great event. I applaud Shane and his committee. I whole heartedly support this,” added Councilor Dan Donovan.

The mayor also received correspondence from John FitzGibbons, on behalf of the Oswego YMCA, for a request for use of Breitbeck Park and the McCrobie Civic Center for a Sept. 8 event – Dragon Boat Community Festival.

FitzGibbons also requested use of the transient dock at the northwest end of Wright’s Landing and use of the dry boat lift at the International Marina to launch and remove the dragon boats from their trailers.

Next month, the YMCA will be assisting those who want to prepare for the Tri-Oswego event, FitzGibbons added.

“The dragon boat race will be the first time in the region,” he said. “It’s a 40-foot, paddle powered boat – 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steer person.”

The goal is to have at least eight women paddlers on a team, he added.

Four lanes would be set up north of Breitbeck Park.

The event is new here, but it is an international phenomenon, which began back in the 1980s, he said.

The format would be a total of 28 community, corporate and collegiate teams, he explained.

The date was selected to allow for participation from the college community.

Each team will compete in three races. In the first set, everyone will compete against everyone else. The second would be by category. The final will have the slowest against the slowest until the four fastest boats are pitted against each other.

Team uniforms and team spirit is encouraged, FitzGibbons said.

“It’s clearly developed to create a team within a boat, but also create a community atmosphere,” he said.

Some proceeds will come back to the YMCA for its Healthy Kids program.

The week before the actual event will see the teams arrive in Oswego for practice, he said.

“This will be a great event to bring to the city,” said Councilor Erik VanBuren said. “I look forward to seeing this go forward.”

“It celebrates what we have,” agreed Council President Ron Kaplewicz. “It’s one more weekend that we get to utilize over a very brief summer. I think it’s absolutely great.”

In other action, the Administrative Services Committee approved a request from the Oz Roller Girls for a three-year commitment (2012-2014) from the city to set the rental rate for their events to be held at the Crisafulli Skating Rink at $60 per hour with a minimum of six hours per event.

This commitment wouldn’t require the city to remove any rink glass for any event, according to DPW Commissioner Mike Smith.

In addition, they are requested to be exempt from acquiring a peddling and soliciting license to cater their events for the same three-year period.

The full council will consider all the requests next week.