All In The Family

Parent-Child Race a Special Moment for Participants

Dan and Earl Johnson

By Alia Azmi – Posted on October 18, 2015

Eighty-six-year-old sculler Earl Johnson had always wanted to fly out to Boston to see the Head Of The Charles. He fulfilled his wish this year with an even better experience—rowing with his son.

Johnson, of the Long Beach Rowers Association, raced in the directors’ challenge parent-child Double yesterday with his son, Dan, 52.

“It’s just a privilege to be here and to see it and know I was able to do it,” Johnson said on being the oldest man on the river at the regatta. Johnson had participated in races with Dan before, notably the 2008 Masters Nationals Championships in Long Beach, where they placed in third.

“We might not have any hardware but a lot of good memories,” said Earl.

Board member Marcia Hooper introduced the idea of a parent-child Double for the Directors’ Challenge in 2008 after witnessing its success in Europe, according to HOCR executive director Fred Schoch. Entries for the race are not gender-specific and have no age minimum, allowing for more opportunities for any type of parent-child pairing to participate.

For, FISA (Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Aviron or World Rowing Federation) continental representative Eduardo

Marco and Eduardo Palomo

Palomo, 56, and his son, Marco, 16, it was an event that would see two months of training put to the test.

“We train everyday at home. In the water on weekends,” Palomo said on the effort that they have put in since Eduardo returned from his FISA duties Pan American Games in Toronto this summer.

Of Palomo’s three children, youngest Marco is the one to prove that the apple does not fall far from the tree. Having rowed competitively from age 12, Marco takes inspiration from champions like American Olympic gold medalist Dan Beery. In his career, Marco has won gold for two under-18 junior doubles and singles national championships, rowing for El Savador’s national rowing federation, which his father helped to establish.

Palomo, a man who has managed to contribute to rowing at all levels, as FISA representative and president of the El Salvador Olympic Committee, considers the work behind the race as his proudest moment with his son.

“I think this has drawn us closer,” Palomo said. “The fact that he has been responsible, more than that is he wants do it and I can see his passion, and he has a big heart and he doesn’t quit.”

The pair placed in 20th, one spot ahead of Team Attager, comprised of Fred Schoch, 66, and his son, Henry, 28.

Henry and Fred Schoch

“It is a real thrill to do that,” Schoch said. “You don’t normally line up with age groups that disparate.”

Schoch, in addition to his involvement with the Head Of The Charles, has had a long history with the sport, from competing to coaching. And Henry, who rowed as a student at the University of Delaware, sees his attraction to the sport a result of having grown up around the Cambridge Boat Club, with a fondness stemming from the sport’s “competition, camaraderie, and great rivalries between teams, schools, and clubs.”

With not much practice but a history with rowing and affinity for the activity, the Schochs finally took part in the race after putting it off last year.


“I don’t think we set any course records but we had a ball,” Schoch said. “Just hearing people cheer for us going down the river and being able to check the box knowing we did that.”

Volunteer for HOCR

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Make this year’s Head Of The Charles® a success. There are many opportunities to get involved over race weekend and before.