Dragon Boats Ready To Race In The Mississippi

Dragon Boats Ready To Race In The Mississippi

50 teams of 20 will paddle their way to victory Saturday morning.

MEMPHIS, TN – (localmemphis.com) Over 1,000 people will be on the Mississippi River Saturday morning to race boats called Dragon boats for the third annual Duncan-Williams Dragon Boat Race. 

The sport of Dragon Boat racing actually dates back over 2300 years. 

The boats are 48 feet long and they’re parked at Mud Island River Park. Twenty people cram inside them for a race that only takes a minute to a minute and a half. 

“She had a team pull her on a ski, and they got her up, so some teams can really move the boat.” said race director Renee Hoyos. 

She’s talking about the owner of one of the boats who was pulled 12-15mph on a water ski. 

“There are two on each side, and they paddle together that’s the beauty of this. It’s a big team building experience. If one person gets off, they throw off the entire boat,” Hoyos said. 

There are 50 teams and right now the boats are mere skeletons of how they’ll be dressed up tomorrow. 

“They will have a head and a tail. We don’t put them on during practice because we don’t want them to get damaged. Each team will have a drummer to control the tempo. They will also have a professional driver in the back to steer the boat,” Hoyos said.

Hoyos added that the stroke is important to get to the most out of your boat. 

“They’re leaned over, they’re twisted, and they’re leaned forward like this so they’re pulling this way as far as they can,” Hoyos said. 

Sounds complicated but simply put, if it’s uncomfortable and you’re using muscles you never have before, then you’re doing it right. 

Races go from 9am to 2pm. You’ll be able to watch all the action from the river park area. 

Handling the announcements, you’ll recognize the voice of Grizzlies public address announcer Rick Trotter. 

The Tennessee Clean Water Network puts on the race. They had a goal to raise $50,000 for a specific purpose. 

“Particularly a new program we are rolling out this year called bringing tap back. It’s a program we are offering in six cities to encourage people to drink their tap water.” Hoyos said. 

There is rain in the forecast Saturday. Hoyos said the race goes on rain or shine but they will pull people off the river if there is lightning. 

For more information go: http://memphis.racedragonboats.com/

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