Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dragon Boat Races!

I've neglected to tell you all about the excitement in Oriental this past week. We had Dragon Boat Races!!
This is the third year for Oriental to host these races, and the number of teams racing has increased dramatically each year. It's a very popular sport. Above you see the seat and drum; each dragon boat has these.
I biked to the river just in time to get a shot of two teams, digging away with their oars, racing for the finish! The weather was windy and stormy on Saturday. They were up against it.
This is what a dragon boat looks like -- a long, low-slung canoe. Two rowers sit on each seat. We had about 22 teams, and only 4 boats, and one of the teams that owned a boat would not share their boat, so the other three boats got a lot of use.
Each boat has a person who sits up front and beats the drum to keep time for the rowing. Think "Ben Hur."
At the other end of the boat is the person who steers. Many of these poor teams are just made up of local folks who like to have fun, plus a few dozen Marines who come in to help.  People come from all over the country to Oriental to participate.
They don't get a chance to practice in a real boat, bless them. I saw them lined up, practicing while they stood up on the sand. See?
I stood out on the end of the town pier where the starting line was. See the red balls? They mark the starting line. The choppy water and wind made it hard for the boats to turn around and all get their noses to the line at the same time. Ready, set, GO!!
See this lady, the drummer for boat 1? She's my friend Fran. Fran is 85 years young, the most senior member of any team. Go, Fran!
She's pounding away. Her boat did not tump over. Later in the day, the river became more difficult and a rogue wave toppled two boats.
See the dragon? In Oriental, we're all about dragon everything, so dragon boat racing is perfect for this town. It was fun to watch.

3 comments:

  1. How fun! This reminds me of the water regatta we used to put on for Young Life teenagers in the cold Princess Louisa Inlet of British Columbia!

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  2. Brrrr, PomPom!! I bet our Neuse River water is not as cold as that! I failed to mention too, that the Neuse is rather shallow, and when the boats turn over in this race, the rowers can stand up in the river - haha! That makes it a bit safer :)

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  3. LOVE it! Oriental and dragon...too totally cute!

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