This fall scores of oarsmen (and oarswomen) will be taking off from the shores of the Ohio River to once again row their way to fame and fortune—to support the River Discovery Center’s educational programs.
Once again, for the second consecutive year, the ancient sport of dragon boat racing will be revived at the foot of Broadway. Teams from around the area will be vying for the coveted trophy and the first, second, and third place honors of setting the pace for a heated competition.
“Last year we raised more than $70,000,” said Julie Harris, Executive Director of the Discovery Center. “This year our goal is to raise $90,000.”
The organization is well on its way to that end point since every spot is filled and a full field will drop their oars into the swiftly flowing waters of the Ohio this September.
Each colorful and carved dragon boat is 40-feet long and is powered by 20 paddlers and one drummer. The Discovery Center provides a professional steersman for each boat. The company 22 Dragons from Montreal provides the boats, the steersmen, and race management. Teams are both corporate and non-profit.
This year two breast cancer survivor teams will be participating, Harris added. “One team is from northern Kentucky. They call themselves the Kentucky Thoroughbreasts. Our local team, the Rack Pack, is sponsored by the Lourdes Women’s Center and Texas Roadhouse,” she said.
The race begins at 9 am on September 21 and will run all day in heats until approximately 3:30 pm according to Harris. Trophies go to the top three teams and team members each receive a medal for their stroke supremacy. Special awards go to Best Dressed Drummer, Most Team Spirit and Best Team Area.
“Lots of great food and drink will be available again this year,” Harris added. “We’ll have everything from barbecue and ribs to Polish sausage, brisket, pizza, veggie wraps, and Chick-Fil-A. We hope everyone will come down and take in this beautiful spectacle in honor of our historic river. Paducah is so fortunate to be a river city. This is just one way we can acknowledge what the river brings to our community.”