The Telegram (St. John's)
Placentia Lions walked into history 40 years ago
Famed 1977 crew will be honoured tonight during opening ceremonies for Saturday’s Placentia Regatta
The Placentia Regatta will be held Saturday, but not before the town pays tribute to the 1977 Placentia Lions crew.
This will be the 54th Placentia Regatta, but the sport of rowing has a much longer history’
In 1877, as the story goes, a group of Placentia fishermen carried their boat on their backs from Placentia to St. John’s, where they participated in and won the championship of the St. John’s Regatta, carrying their boat again on the trip back.
In 1977, the Placentia Lions replicated this feat, with the seven members of the team — Adrian O’keefe, Tom Whittle, Brendan Whittle, Anthony Whittle, Frank Lannon, Gerard Barron, Leo Collins, and Clem Whittle — carrying their own boat to St. John’s. There, the Lions won three races, including the men’s championship of the Royal St. John’s Regatta. That gave the crew its second consecutive triple crown, which goes to a team winning the championships in the Harbour Grace, Placentia, and St. John’s regattas in the same year.
Tonight, as part of the Placentia Regatta’s opening ceremonies, the Lions crew will be honoured. Plaques will be awarded to the members, a slideshow will be screened onstage and a special presentation of an enlarged photo of the crew from 1977 during their walk to St. John’s will be made.
The ceremonies begin 8 p.m. at the Regatta site.
Races Saturday are set to begin at 8 a.m., with championships scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.