The Working Sport
The first modern rowing races, in the second half of the 18th century, were races between watermen (professional river taxi workers) on the River Thames in England. One such race, called the Doggett's Coat and Badge, was first held in 1715 and is still held each summer.
Subsequently, rowing became extremely popular both as an amateur and professional sport, often with thousands of spectators at events.
While early rowers used their work boats to compete, modern competitive boats can be expensive to procure. Community rowing centers such as The Chicago Training Center help young rowers by providing boats, training and practice.