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Dragon Boat Races return to Lake Buhlow!

After a two-year hiatus, the Dragon Boat races are set to kick off Saturday, May 7, 2022.
Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 3:38 PM CDT|Updated: May. 6, 2022 at 6:33 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (LSUA) - After a two-year break, it is time to Paddle Up for the Louisiana Dragon Boat Races™! This signature event, sponsored by the Alexandria Museum of Art (AMoA), is back on the water at Lake Buhlow in Pineville on Saturday, May 7. This will be the 10th year that local sponsors will awaken the Dragons once again on the morning of race day to compete for trophies, medals, spirit awards, and bragging rights. Many of the long-time participants, as well as several new teams, are excited to team up for this friendly competition that has been on hiatus since 2019. Folks are ready to participate this year, with twenty-three teams already registered and several more committed.

Catherine McCrory Pears, Executive Director of AMoA, commented on this year’s race, “We have had a great response to the return of Dragon Boat Racing to Central Louisiana! Most teams that registered in 2020 (when we had to cancel) have returned as well as some new teams and returning sponsors. I think folks are just ready to enjoy time together for a fun event like this.”

After two years without fundraisers, the Museum is so grateful for the folks who have been supporters of AMoA through this event over the years and is especially grateful to our sponsors and teams who stepped up again this year. The sponsors are: Rapides Regional Medical Center, Boise Cascade, Ratcliff Construction, CLECO, Red River Bank, Walker Automotive, and the Alexandria Pineville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

There is still time to gather your friends and coworkers and register your team for the race on May 7. The museum will take registrations at louisianadragonboatraces.com until two weeks before the race when the schedule and team tent areas will be finalized for final event planning. It takes 20 paddlers and one drummer to form a team. At least 8 paddlers must be women. The cost to participate is $2100 per team - essentially $100 per person. All teams get an hour-long practice scheduled on an evening during the week leading up to the race. Each team will sign up for a timeslot so that they can work with one of the helmsmen from 22 Dragons (who facilitate the race) to learn the best techniques for a successful run in the Dragon Boat Race. On race day, the races usually begin around 8 am and run until late in the afternoon. Onlookers are welcomed during practices and strongly encouraged on race day.

Teams will compete in three heats for the final awards. Teams will also compete for Spirit Awards for Best Dressed Drummer, Best Team Spirit, and Best Tent Area.

Pears fondly noted, “All of these teams have such a great time costuming, paddling, and tailgating on race day! The food the teams cook is incredible. For next year, we have considered adding a category for that too!”

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