Dragon Boat Races
Registration is open for The Junior League of Tuscaloosa Dragon Boat Races. Get the ride of your life Saturday, April 26, 2014 at Cypress Inn on the Black Warrior River.
In 2012, The Junior League of Tuscaloosa Dragon Boat Race participants and sponsors raised over $20,000 to continue to build leadership capabilities in women and help fund our community partnerships, such as Holt Elementary School.
Dragon boat racing is the 8th fastest growing sport in the world and the most fun, unique cultural event featuring adrenaline-pumping action. Dragon boat racing grows in popularity each year, with more than 50 million people in 63 countries participating. Teams of 20 paddlers, a drummer and steerer race in authentic Hong Kong-style, 46-foot-long dragon boats. All ages, skill levels and physiques can paddle, making it the ultimate teambuilding sport, requiring synchronicity and finesse, more than power to win.
Find out why you can’t miss this event. Bring your team. Bring your spirit. Bring your best!
Once you hear about dragon boat racing and become involved in this world of sport, community and fun, there is no turning back from it. There is much more to it than a great day on the water. There are different and interesting ways to experience the sport for both team members and spectators. Whether you've paddled in a festival or regatta, or you paddle regularly in a dragon boat, you feel connected to it. That’s the beauty of it – from the moment you pick up a paddle, you’ll love dragon boat racing!
Hong Kong-style dragon boats are 46 feet long, with 10 seats and 20 people. A drum seat arranged above the first two paddlers (seated beside each other) holds a drummer – you want the smallest, loudest, most rhythmic person you can find. A provided steerer guides the boat with the steering oar in back. These 22 people make up a dragon boat team. The stroke is unlike any other (the most similar is outrigger canoe) and taught in practice.
With origins dating back 2,300 years, dragon boat racing is a fun, unique cultural event featuring adrenaline-pumping action. Teams race in authentic 46-foot-long Hong Kong- style dragon boats. They rave about the excitement, friendly competition and community spirit surrounding the sport. All ages, skill levels and physiques perfect their stroke and timing for the ultimate teamwork experience!
Every paddler plays a specific role. They sit next to each other and against the gunnel to balance the boat as they paddle. The strokers occupy the front three seats of the boat, while the fourth seat is a transition place where, ideally, the paddlers have rhythm and power. Then, seats four, five, and six consist of the “engine room,” where the largest and strongest team members sit. The last four rows of a dragon boat are filled with strong paddlers who are also typically shorter and able to paddle faster. Paddlers at this location in the dragon boat are considered “rockets,” because the water is moving faster to them, from the first 14 seats because they’re scooping water back. The paddlers are taught to watch up the middle of the boat and two seats across – when that paddler has his or her paddle up in the air, ready to engage the water, it’s the cue for the person watching to get his or her paddle up as well. While the drummer keeps the rhythm for most of the boat, it can be difficult to hear on race day. It’s also a very visual sport, and if everyone is watching the right person, magic absolutely can happen in a dragon boat. Teams have to follow the strategy and then execute: the team members in the front must paddle in perfect timing as an example for the back half of the boat. When the power from the middle is mixed with the speed and capabilities of the athletes in the back, a dragon boat can glide quickly through the water like a bullet.
Teams feel a connection to the racing. They bond to each other. They feel connected to the experience.
What is the catch?
Dragon boat participants are passionate about this sport. People love it – the thrill, the teamwork, the adrenaline, the interaction in the boat – everything about it. People are drawn to this sport, to each other in a setting that exemplifies human connectivity on a level comparable to nothing else. People who never thought of themselves as athletes can thrive in a dragon boat. People who are athletes discover a challenging alternative to other sports.
According to legend, Dragon Boat racing originated in China more than 2,300 years ago. Chinese history describes the fourth-century B.C. as the Warring States period, a time of shifting alliances and treachery.
The patriot and poet Qu Yuan championed political reform and truth as essential to a healthy state. The King, who had fallen under the influence of corrupt ministers, banished his most loyal counselor, Qu Yuan, from the kingdom.
Left to wander the countryside, Qu Yuan composed some of China's greatest poetry expressing his fervent love and loyalty for his country and his deep concern for its future. Upon learning of his kingdom’s devastation at the hands of a rival kingdom in 277 B.C., Qu Yuan threw himself into the Mei Lo River.
The people loved Qu Yuan. They raced out in their fishing boats to the middle of the river in a vain attempt to save him. They beat on drums and splashed their oars in the water, trying to keep the fish from his body and ward off evil spirits. To honor his soul and ensure it didn't go hungry, they scattered rice into the water.
Today, dragon boat races are primarily a form of amusement and fun, while also highlighting the history and culture of this colorful event. Every year, people come together to pay tribute to this fallen statesman by paddling to the beat of their own drums.
The traditional dotting of the Dragon’s eye before dragon boat racing begins awakens the dragon and unleashes its fire, giving boats and their crews the strength of the dragon.
The Junior League of Tuscaloosa, Inc. is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving the communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.
Whether you want to win the race or win your lane – bring your team to the start line! Join other teams registering now for The Junior League of Tuscaloosa Dragon Boat Races! Look to co-workers, friends, spouses, church members, civic leaders, customers, neighbors, and others to fill your winning team of 20 paddlers and a drummer. Find out why it’s the fastest growing water sport! Get your team. Get on the boat. Make waves!
Practices: Week of April 21nd, 2014
Festival Day: April 26, 2014
Location: Cypress Inn on the Black Warrior River
Estimated Race Time: TBA.
Cost: $1,500 per team (Register prior to kickoff event in Feb. 2014 and receive a $250 discount!!)
All dragon boats, gear and instruction (including paddles, life jackets, and coaches) provided for teams by race producer.
Each team races one time in the morning and once in the afternoon. Teams hang out, bond, play games, eat, and some even nap between races. After averaging times from the first two rounds, the Top 12 teams will advance to a final round. The best times from the final race will determine Gold, Silver & Bronze winners.
Note: Hydration is very important to prepare for a Dragon Boat race. The earlier you start, the better. Drink lots of water often in advance, and encourage your team members to bring water into the dragon boats during practice.
Email email@example.com for further information!