Bill Van Sickle has competed in rowing races under the "Recreation" classification, but that word hardly describes his attitude.
"My wife thinks I'm addicted to this sport," Van Sickle said.
It's an addiction the 52-year-old Van Sickle, who will compete Sunday in the Frostbite Regatta along the Arkansas River, took up relatively late.
Formerly an avid biker, Van Sickle gave up that passion when friends of his were killed in a riding accident After that, the Hutchinson native began looking for something new to satisfy his competitive urges.
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His wife was a recreational rower and encouraged him to become involved, so Van Sickle did following his move to Wichita after college.
"I walked into the (boathouse) in '84 and just told the guys who were standing around, 'Hey, I'd like to learn how to do this,' " Van Sickle said. "They were all ex-Wichita State rowers ... and they were all really good. They threw me into a boat and taught me to row."
Van Sickle began racing competitively shortly after that but took an extended break when he and his wife began having children.
Now that his two kids are grown, Van Sickle has allowed rowing to capture him again. He's competed in "seven or eight" regattas this year, and has done well in two-person races.
"It's kind of taken over for me," Van Sickle said.
Van Sickle, a member of the Wichita Rowing Association, is scheduled to compete in three races Sunday — two two-person races and a four-person one.
He has raced in several states and gone as far as Ontario, Canada.
"It's fulfilling (the need for competition) quite well," Van Sickle said. "It's a good full-body exercise. We have to travel quite a bit, but there is plenty of good competition around."
Racing on the Arkansas, near the Ralph Wulz Riverside Tennis Center, begins at 9 a.m. Sunday and goes through about 4 p.m.