Raising funds and having fun at the annual Dragonboat Race

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Over 700 paddlers ranging from the age of 16 through 80 converged on Henry Chambers Waterfront Park on Saturday July 25th for the 3rd annual Dragonboat Race Day as part of the 60th annual Water Festival. A total of 32 teams each comprised of 22 paddlers, manned 42-foot long dragonboats in a series of races during the daylong event.

Team Madness warmed up the crowd before a full day of races.
Team Madness warmed up the crowd before a full day of races.

Dragonboat Race Day has continued to grow over the past few years attracting a variety of community teams throughout Beaufort County for the exciting and colorful event which raises money for Dragonboat Beaufort’s cancer survivor support outreach mission. This year participating paddlers exceeded their fundraising goal by raising over $65,000 for Dragonboat Beaufort.

The Opening Ceremonies featured a welcome by Mayor Billy Keyserling and a blessing by Father Paul MacNeil from St. Peter’s Church for all those touched by cancer and for the safety of the day’s participants. The Opening Ceremonies included the Official Team Roll Call which featured each team’s drummer parading across the Pavilion stage at Waterfront Park dressed in spirited and sometimes outrageous attire. After a full morning of races, participants paused at mid-day to reflect and remember those who they’ve lost to cancer and those currently battling cancer during a special Carnation Ceremony. Immediately after, the mood was raised with a mini concert by local favorites The Sweet Grass Angels.

The event drew teams from a five state area and an estimated 3000 spectators to the seawall for the afternoon races which culminated awards ceremony honoring division and fundraising winners.

Overall Highest Fundraiser – Barbara Westcott; 2nd Highest Fundraiser – Linda Etchells; 3rd Highest Fundraiser – Corinne Woodman; 4th Highest Fundraiser – David Aldrich; 5th Highest Fundraiser – Mark Heyward; 6th Highest Fundraiser – Jeffrey and Sandy Gott; 7th Highest Fundraiser – Missy Buskirk; 8th Highest Fundraiser – Jan Brown; 9th Highest Fundraiser – Alan Schneider; 10th Highest Fundraiser – Victoria Liggett; Team with the Most Individual Donors – Dragon Slayers; Drummer Raising the Most Money on Race Day – Ride the Tide Leadership Dragons; Best Dressed Drummer – Ride the Tide Leadership Dragons; Best Tent Décor – Dragonboat Atlanta; Best Team Spirit – Swamp Dragons; Best T-Shirt Design – Princess of Tides – Nuances.

Fastest local team, Hampton Inn Heroes.
Fastest local team, Hampton Inn Heroes.

Participating teams included #AmberStrong – Indigo Salon & Friends of Amber Black and We are OARsome sponsored by Advantage Construction; Bauer Strong – Friends and Family of Jimmy Bauer; Beaufort Memorial Basilisks – Beaufort Memorial Hospital; Charleston Firebreathers/Blue – Charleston Paddle Club; Charleston Firebreathers/White – Charleston Paddle Club; Dancing Dragons – Revolution Ballroom; Dragon Slayers – Habersham Friends & Neighbors; Dragonboat Atlanta – Atlanta, GA; Dragonboat Charleston – Charleston, SC; Educate OARS – Beaufort County School District; Hampton Inn Heroes – Hampton Inn Beaufort; Healing Dragons of Charlotte – Charlotte, NC; Healing Dragons of Lake James – Morganton, NC; Houseboat For Sail – Beaufort County Association of Realtors; JDBC Flash – Jacksonville Dragonboat Club; JDBC Mammoglams – Jacksonville Dragonboat Club; Kentucky Thorough-Breasts – Highland Heights, KY; Madness: It’s in the PAIN – Madness; MOES for Milbrey – Family & Friends of Milbrey Gnann; Pinnacle Plastic Surgery – Dr. Audrey Klenke, Bluffton, SC; Port Royal Superheroes – Port Royal Elementary School; Princess of Tides – Nuances, Port Royal, SC; Rack Attack – Hilton Head Hospital; Ride the Tide Leadership Dragons – Leadership Beaufort; Sea Island Rotary Club – Beaufort, SC; Sun City All Stars – Anonymous Donor; Swamp Dragons – UBS – The Bankhead Group; Team Badfish – City Walk/Pinckney Retreat; Torture Chamber – Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce; Tri Command Peacekeepers by CenturyLink – CenturyLink; Where’s the Water? – Jacksonville Fire Dragons, Jacksonville, FL.

Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded for four divisions, Cancer Survivor division as well as the fastest local teams:

Division D

1st Houseboat for Sail, 2nd Kentucky Thorough-Breasts, 3rd Healing Dragons of Lake James

Division C

1st Sea Island Rotary Club, 2nd Beaufort Memorial Hospital Basilisks, 3rd Healing Dragons of Charlotte

Division B

1st Pinnacle Plastic Surgery, 2nd #AmberStrong (OARsome), 3rd Dragonboat Charleston

Division A

1st Charleston Firebreathers/White, 2nd Charleston Firebreathers/Blue, 3rd Jacksonville Flash

Cancer Division

1st Jacksonville Mammoglams, 2nd Dragonboat Charleston, 3rd Healing Dragons of Charlotte

Fastest Local Teams

1st Hampton Inn Heroes of Beaufort, 2nd Team Badfish – City Walk/Pinckney Retreat, 3rd Bauer Strong – Family & Friends of Jimmie Bauer

The mission of Dragonboat Beaufort is to provide cancer survivors the opportunity to heal and regain physical and psychological strength and wellness through the camaraderie and competition of dragon boat paddling and racing. Money raised by Dragonboat Race Day goes to support cancer patients and survivors with needs not covered by usual means. Examples include paying for patients’ gasoline so they can afford to drive to medical treatments, delivering food to recovering cancer patients, paying for nutritional supplements, daycare, medical supplies, dental work and stipends toward medical insurance. Money also goes to help heal and support our cancer survivor members and their supporters through paddling. As a volunteer organization with no added administrative cost, DBB is solely responsible for the maintenance of team’s boats, equipment and participation in competition.

All proceeds go to the DragonBoat Beaufort Fund housed under the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. More information can be found at www.dragonboatraceday.com.