It's Dragon Boat team time; here's how to make the most of it


Teamwork and having fun are
two of the most important keys to having a successful
Dragon Boat team. Here's the MDROwers team
from the 2012 Dragon Boat Festival
showing their team spirit.

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – It’s time to get your paddling team together for the eighth annual Mountain States Dragon Boat Festival.

This community favorite, set for Sept. 7 at Winged Deer Park, draws hundreds of participants and thousands of spectators for fun competition on Boone Lake while helping a great cause – the Regional Cancer Centers at Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA).

Directed and coached by a steersman standing in the rear of the boat, each 21-member Dragon Boat team races a distance of 200 meters in an attempt to earn the fastest time. Every team will compete in two heats, with the fastest 18 teams advancing the championship round.

The festival will host up to 50 teams, fielded primarily by area businesses and organizations, and for each participant to receive a 2013 commemorative event paddle they must raise a minimum of $250. Each team needs to have at least eight female paddlers.

The event will include numerous vendors and a full day of family-friendly activities for paddlers as well as spectators.

A Captain’s Meeting is set for Aug. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the NorthPoint II office building, 1021 W. Oakland Ave., located just off State of Franklin Road below Ashley Furniture. The meeting will take place in Suite 200, second floor, in the MSHA Marketing Department conference room.

Proceeds from the Dragon Boat Festival will benefit MSHA’s Regional Cancer Centers by helping to pay for a linear accelerator, the newest radiation technology available. This machine can pinpoint where cancer cells end and healthy cells begin, and then deliver radiation with great precision so only cancer cells are destroyed and normal tissue is left undamaged.

To create a team or joint an existing team, or for more information, visit


Ten tips for a successful Dragon Boat team

Once you’re on a team, use these 10 tips provided by Patty Bolton, corporate director of Major Events for Mountain States Foundation, to have a great Dragon Boat experience:

1. Have a “can-do” attitude! Don’t focus on the difficult parts or sit back and expect someone else to carry the load. Jump in and do whatever it takes.

2. Get in the mind of the dragon. Invest some time and effort into things like the team name, team cheer, team T-shirt and tent city participation. You’ll be surprised at how much fun these can be.

3. Always paddle in sync with your other paddlers. Technique and timing can beat brute strength, so teamwork is crucial.

4. PRACTICE. You have to know what you’re doing! (See Tip No. 3). It’s not always who’s the physically strongest team; it’s who paddles the most efficiently.

5. Remember you are paddling, not rowing. Paddling involves a paddle, which is not attached to the boat like an oar, and paddlers face forward as they propel themselves through the water using their arms and upper body for power. Rowers turn their backs in the direction they’re going and use their legs and back to provide strength.

6. Warm up your muscles and hydrate the body. Those 200 meters are longer than you think! For practice and the races, make sure you get your body ready to go.

7. The team with the best start usually wins the race. When the command comes to have “paddles up!” for the start of the race, stay focused and be ready to give it all you’ve got.  Jumping out to a good start is vital.

8. You have to come out rain or shine. The event can’t be rescheduled. We won’t paddle in a thunderstorm, but we’ve paddled in plenty of rain and plenty of sun, so come prepared.

9. Real success is raising money. Remember, the money we raise in 2013 will help local cancer patients. That should be good motivation to get donations and to paddle hard.

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