JRC History

About JRC / JRC History

The Jacksonville Rowing Club (JRC) finds its history rooted in the tradition of two early Jacksonville rowing clubs: the Remex Rowing Club and the St. John's Few Rowing Club.  Remex Rowing Club was the first rowing club organized in Jacksonville and was founded by Robert Negaard in the early seventies.  Charlie Platt, who at the time was with Episcopal High School, also helped Remex get started.  Remex was officially incorporated in the State of Florida in June 10, 1975. During its existence, the club organized the first club regatta in Jacksonville, the Remex Regatta, which ran on the St. John's River through downtown, finishing at the Hilton Hotel.  At that time, the Hilton had a Remex-inspired, rowing-themed pub in the hotel where participants could watch the race, enjoy refreshment and look over the rowing memorabilia.  Although in the early eighties the Remex Rowing Club ceased to operate as a club, under the tutelage of Dr. A. Sanchez-Salazar, it did produce a number of National Champions and National Team members; Kristen Negaard in the 1977 Junior Single, Louise Novey in the 1979 Junior Single, Billie Brown in the 1979 Lightweight Single, Clay Ziegler in the 1980 Lightweight Double and Barbara Sanchez-Salazar for the 1978 Junior National Team.

In mid-1986, the predecessor organization of the JRC was created by a group of people including Pete Keegan, Brad, Kristen & Bob Negaard, Mark & Jackie Beckenbach, Gail Ferguson, Brett Williams and Bob Mustafa.  This club was called the St. Johns Few. In 1987, the St. Johns Few successfully put on the Sunshine State Games out of the Jacksonville University (JU) boathouse and, then, sometime shortly after that, the St. Johns Few disbanded.
In the late 1987, the St. Johns Few was reorganized as the Jacksonville Rowing Club, Inc.  The club operated out of JU from a lean-to built on to the side of the JU boathouse.  Dues and any other income were deposited into an account at JU and expenses paid by JU for the JRC.  In September of 1988, Roy Fuller joined the club, took over Treasurer duties, opened the club's first bank account and took over the accounting functions from JU.  The JRC began to stand on its own.
Somewhere around late 1988, the club purchased its original boats from Bob Negaard.  The club's flotilla consisted of two Wing It singles, one Seashell, one Boston, one Smallcraft, one double Smallcraft and one Laser, for the most part, all recreational boats.
Due to the water conditions on the St. John's, in early 1989, Pete Keegan and Mark Beckenbach approached Episcopal High School and with the help of Kurt Logan, State Representative Jim Tullis and Garnett Ashby, JRC petitioned Episcopal with the idea of building a boathouse on their property on Pottsburg Creek.  In mid-1989, JRC moved to the Episcopal High School property.  Almost immediately after JRC left the JU property, the lean-to was taken over and expanded by the new Stanton Rowing Program formed by Steve Hitchcock.
JRC was officially recorded as a corporation in the State of Florida on July 3rd, 1990.  At that time, its first official Board and officers were elected.
Shortly after moving to the Episcopal HS location, Episcopal decided to develop their property with a state-of-the-art boathouse.  Unfortunately, that meant JRC would have to leave the location. We officially became homeless in 2002 and began rowing from a number of different sites in Jacksonville – the youth at Dr. Koster’s home, the master’s men from Dr. Sanchez-Salazar’s home.  If not for the efforts of then President Mark Beckenbach and Barbara Sanchez-Salazar, JRC would have dissolved.  Mark and Barbara convinced State Rep Stan Jordan and DCF to allow JRC to move to the DCF site; thereby consolidating our operations and bringing new life to JRC.  Our current enclosure was built over the course of two weekends with the amazing help of a number of JU students.    
Though the DCF site has been a blessing to JRC; at the time, there was no way to get boats to the water without wading thru knee deep muck.  Once again, ingenuity and elbow grease to the rescue!  Dr. Sanchez-Salazar found a partner in his neighbor, Mr. Peter House, to help us design and build a pier and dock.  After several weekends of  work; pilings, decks, docks, ramps, anchors – finally the “dock Salazar” was in place!
After a bit of equipment/inventory clean up, the JRC flotilla continued to improve.  Two used eights were donated by a local school, another eight was donated by a number of youth parents led by Nancy and Chip Lilly, and a four was donated by a youth parent, Dr. Gene Bebeau.   In addition, JRC purchased a number of singles, doubles and a four.  Finally, the youth and masters working together fundraised to buy a brand new trailer that allowed our teams to bring shells to race sites.
Over the years JRC has become Northeast's Florida's true community rowing club.  Our members range from as far as St. Augustine and Palatka in the south, to Kings Bay in the north, and to the communities of Atlantic, Neptune, Jacksonville and Ponte Vedra Beaches. Over the years, the JRC Board has integrated representatives from all the scholastic and collegiate rowing programs in the area. Since our founding, we have developed learn to row programs for youth and adults, judge/referee development programs, coxswain clinics, and a competitive masters program; conceived, and initially ran, the First Coast Head Race; produced the Trout River Rowing Festival; and organized a small community youth rowing program, which was disbanded in 2018. 
Today, the JRC provides sculling and sweep rowing for novice and experienced, recreational and competitive adults.  No matter what your rowing experience or interests, there is something for you at JRC.

 Since our inception, the Presidents of the Club have been:

 1987 to July 1990  Peter Keegan
 July 1990 to July 1991  Kelly Mannel
 July 1991 to July 1996  Mark Frampton
 July 1996 to July 1997  Pete Keegan
 July 1997 to January 2001  Barbara Sanchez-Salazar
 January 2001 to January 2003  Mark Beckenbach
 January 2003 to January 2004  Beth Marten
 January 2004 to November 2007  Peter King
 November 2007 to July 2008  Leslie Smith
 July 2008 to January 2009                  Tom Rizzo
 January 2009 to January 2011  David Fekke
 January 2011 to January 2013  Janet Frampton
 January 2013 to January 2015  Stacey Legler
 January 2015 to January 2016  Anthony Shrubsall
 January 2016 to January 2018  Chris Wasilewski
 January 2018 to January 2019  Rob Whitbeck
 January 2019 to January 2020  Shana Brodnax
 January 2020 to January 2021  Lee Adolph
 January 2019 to Present  Larry Abramson