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Mansfield Magazine

Team 'DUC Delite' from Dallas Overall Winning Team at the Grand Prairie Dragon Boat Festival

May 28, 2016 12:30PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Dragon Boat

The 3rd Annual Grand Prairie Dragon Boat Festival was quite a success on Saturday, May 21st. 18 teams participated from around the Grand Prairie area, and as far as Austin and Houston!

Classic Chevrolet Team

The overall winning team was DUC Delite from Dallas. The local Grand Prairie team that did the best was Camp Gladiator Woodland West. The fastest High School team of the 4 that participated was the GPCI Cavaliers sponsored by The Thompson Group/Classic Chevrolet.

This event was put together by the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce.

About Dragon Boat Racing

This event included local and regional teams coming together to race against each other in a series of heats. Novice teams were provided with instruction and all of the necessary equipment to race. This festival is focused community involvement and charitable giving.

With a history of more than 2,500 years, the sport of dragon boating originated in ancient China.  The legends include warring states, radical politics and fierce loyalty and passion written poetically by one man - Qu Yuan. This man was exiled from the land that he loved, and in turn committed suicide in the Miluo River in a final form of protest against the corruption of his era.  During an attempt to save Qu Yuan, the locals took to the river in their fishing boats, splashing their paddles to keep the water demons and evil spirits away.

Modern day dragon boating has few elements to this ancient tale remaining.  However, it has evolved into a worldwide competitive sport, bringing together millions across the globe annually.  Festivals with traditional Asian flare and culture are commonplace alongside a dragon boat race in recent years.  High level competitions have also been organized since the mid 1970s.  

But the sport's growth has been most commonly found at the grassroots level.  Dragon boating has become an extremely popular vehicle for fundraising, and tool for corporate team building.  Local communities combine these two concepts to breath new life into their waterfront areas, and to stimulate their local economy.

Pink Team

Teams are formed with 18-25 people from all walks of life.  Any age, size, ability and gender can learn to paddle on a dragon boat team.  20 paddlers are seated in 10 rows of 2 with a drummer sitting in the bow, facing the paddlers.  The paddler's job is to paddle in unison with the entire team. The drummer's job is to beat the drum in sync with the paddlers and to motivate their team to the finish line.  A steersperson (provided by the festival) stands in the stern of the boat, guiding the boat straight down the race course with a 10-foot oar.

At the Grand Prairie Dragon Boat Festival, anyone could compete, at any level. All they had to do was pull together a group of 18-25 people, and training was included in the sign-up fee. A great and unique team building experience! 

For more information about the event, you can visit their website. A special thanks to the coordinators of the event for providing the great photos. 

Content courtesy of the Dragon Boat Festival Website and Grand Prairie Chamber coordinators Christine Canevari and Nicole Wegienka.

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