Burton Beach Invitational Draws Big Crowds to Vashon

After a winter that seemed like it wouldn’t quit, signs that spring is actually coming started appearing this past weekend.

One of the surest signs of all is the return of rowers to Quartermaster Harbor. Jensen Point was humming last Sunday with the return of the annual Burton Beach Invitational, presented by Windermere Realty. More than 500 rowers and spectators from 12 local clubs gathered at Jensen Point last Sunday for what has become an annual tradition.

“It’s always fun for us to welcome our rowing friends from around the Northwest to our little corner of paradise,” said Invitational co-organizer Andrea Gonter. “Trailers start pulling into Jensen Point on Saturday morning and it’s great to see rowers out on the water as well as exploring our island. We are always excited that we can bring so many people to the island and see them supporting the local businesses and community that has always been so supportive of us.”

The weather smiled on the island last Sunday and it made for a great day of racing. The day kicked off at 8 a.m. and ended in the afternoon, 42 races later.

Seattle Prep led the day with a total of 20 medals. Oregon Rowing Unlimited (Portland) came in second with 17. The two island clubs combined for a total of 23 medals, with the regatta host Burton Beach Rowing Club winning 12 and Vashon Island Rowing Club winning 11.

Burton Beach’s medals included three golds, including two from eighth-grader Briar Guenther, who won in Novice Boy’s Single and in the Novice Boy’s Double with Max Jackson. Burton Beach’s other gold came from Brisa Ordonez-Ramirez, who won gold in the Girl’s Novice Single.

Vashon Island’s medals included five gold medals. Julianna Steffens and Laurel Calhoun won in the Girl’s U17 Double. Henry Cooper, Will Parker, Alexander Nelson, and Quentin Cherry won the Boy’s U16 Quad. Ely Rose won the Girls U15 Single. Selene Dalinis won the Girls U17 Single. Will Parker and Alexander Nelson picked up their second gold medal of the day when they won the Boy’s U16 Double.

“It was a good day for all of our island rowers,” said Burton Beach Rowing Club’s coach, Richard Parr. “It’s wonderful to see so many young athletes enjoying and excelling at the sport. It’s also great to see so many people enjoying the sport on the island. Quartermaster Harbor really is a great place to host a regatta.”

Parr, too, thanked community members for their support and participation at the regatta — a day that found Voice of Vashon announcers on the scene, doing play-by-play and color commentary, and the chefs of Aeggy’s Farm serving up tasty, island-made eats.

“There are so many moving pieces to an event like this,” Parr said. “We depend on the generosity of so many volunteers and the wonderful support we get from both the community and island businesses. We’re glad we can bring so many people to the island and hopefully give back a little bit.”