More than 240 dragon boaters from Terrace and Kitimat pulled together in the sixth annual Kitimat Community Dragon Boat Festival July 2.
Paddlers came from Prince Rupert, Terrace and Kitimat to enjoy the fun and friendly competition on the calm waters of Minette Bay where the log sort yard was transformed into a festival ground with music from the Terrace Pipes and Drums and DJ “Giggy with Liggy”.
There were a variety of food vendors on hand as well as beer gardens and a kid’s zone complete with a visit from a clown.
Ruth Mills was an event organizer and estimates this year’s competition to be the largest one yet.
“I’m very excited about the growth of the sport in the region, I think that the paddle connect people of all ages and all fitness levels,” Mills said.
She said one of the best parts of the day was seeing the reaction of people who had never tried dragon boating before.
“(There were) big smiles on their faces, they really enjoyed it,” Mills said, adding many of the new participants would like to keep their teams on the water.
There were 12 teams of 20 people who took part, with three boats at a time on the water, two of which were brand new for the event.
She adds that the team aspect to dragon boating is huge. Along with rowers, boats are manned by a steer person as well as a drummer, who keeps a beat for the team to row to, something she said is essential.
“If everyone is in time the boat becomes one paddle and you can go really fast,” Mills said.
In the A division battle in the 250 metre races the RTA Young Dragons left the venerable RTA Dragons toiling in their wake.
But when it came to the 1,000 metre race, the senior dragons turned the tables comprehensively, crossing the line nearly four seconds clear.
“It was a wonderful festival,” said Mills. “A perfect day – showery in the morning with glassy water and sunshine brought out by the Terrace Pipe band just in time for the races to begin.”
Full results are:
1- RTA Young Dragons 1:10:83
2- RTA Dragons 1:13:23
3- Revenge of the Dragons 1:15:97
1- Free Spirit 1:16:95
2- Wasabi Warriors 1:18:91
3 -Tragically Quick 1:23:47
1- KMP Crushers 1:19:13
2- Lakelse Dragons (Terrace) 1:22:84
3- Hawkair (Terrace) 1:25:42
1- Regatta Warriors 1:23:44
2- Motley Crew 1:27 :35
3- Wellness Warriors 1:30:35
With files from the Kitimat Sentinel.