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OWENSBORO, Ky. (8/30/13) – Hundreds of spectators were cheering and hollering, while 3 dragon boats were racing through the glistening water on the Ohio River. The 3rd Annual Owensboro Dragon Boat Festival made a lot of memorial moments for a mass of families and friends!

The REO Speed Dragons experienced paddlers won the whole race over other 29 teams with an average time of 54.65 seconds over the course of about 2 football fields. The second-place Confucius Institute of Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green boasted on their Facebook page that they hand picked their rowers and came in second. However, there were winners in each category: competitive, recreational, women, and Corporate Challenge.

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What is dragon boat race?

It all started over 2,000 years ago in China, when the famous poet and statesman, Qu Yuan, jumped into Milou River, after he was heartbroken by his loss of his country Zhou in the Warring States Period (475-221 BC). Fishermen rushed to his rescue in boats, but could not save him. Now on Double Fifth (May the 5th on Chinese lunar calendar), many people hold dragon boat race in China. However, many cities in the United States and all over the world have held dragon boat races on different dates and it has become a very popular water sport internationally. For example, Evansville has held a dragon boat race for many years, and now Owensboro has started the race 3 years ago on the Ohio River by English Park. The race started with 14 teams the first year, and now it has grown to 30 teams this year. Many companies, schools, banks have organized teams for team building, such as US Bank, Independence Bank, Daramic, Southern Stars. Owensboro Human Relations Commission organized a very special team of Diversity Paddlers with members ages from 16 to 72 years old, and students to retirees, and ethnic groups consisting of Chinese-American, Asian-Indian, Latino, African-American, and Caucasian. Each team needs 20 paddlers and one drummer, and you can have more than 21 on your team, so you can rotate in case your members get tired. For 30 teams and their families and friends, there were thousands of people in tents and rowing on Aug. 24, Saturday at the festival.

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Entertainment, other activities, and food vendor

Not only the dragon boat races attracted a lot of people, entertainment on the stage also brought a lot of local performers and beyond. Heath & Molly, Panther Creek Bluegrass Band, Rose Curtain Players of Owensboro High School, and Little Dragon Dancers from the tri-state area all charmed the audience with their specialty. Since the Dragon Boat Festival originated from China, Tim Ross, event coordinator of the City of Owensboro added some Chinese culture elements. As a result, Mayor Ron Payne dotted the eye of the dragon head with red paint in the opening ceremony, as the Chinese legend says this would awake the dragon. US-China People's Friendship Association Owensboro/Evansville Chapter provided Chinese dragon dance. Rose Curtain Players did a skit of how the Dragon Boat Festival started. Little Dragon Dancers did the Ribbon Dance, Lantern Dance, and Fan Dance.

Some teams grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for their team members, but food vendors were also available. The festival had a lot to offer indeed!

So what can we expect next year? Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne said," One Owensboro local team has to win the trophy!" Maybe our Owensboro firefighters!

No matter what, it is everybody's game!
If interested, go on line and race with your friends, families, and/or co-workers! Join us next year in 2014.
Winny Lin
SurfKY News

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