Scouts competing in Dragon Boat Races

Published 7:02 am Friday, May 13, 2016

By Col. Bobby Miller

Special to the Daily News

Venture Scouts of Bogalusa Venture Crew 313 and Bush Venturer Crew 213 Boy Scouts of America will be competing against approximately 35 teams from throughout the United States and Trinidad tomorrow in the seventh Greater New Orleans International Dragon Boat Festival.

The event takes place on the Tchefuncte River in Madisonville.

The annual event, which lasts all day, helps raise money for the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at the St. Tammany Parish Hospital.

It is a family-friendly event hosted by the St. Tammany Tourist Commission and Madisonville Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to the dragon boat race, food and refreshments will be available as well as exhibitors and vendor booths. There’s also a kids area and fun activities for the whole family throughout the day.

Spectators, which are admitted free, make this a super activity for families while supporting the dragon boat racers.

Dragon boat racing began in ancient China and is now a fast-growing watersport across the world. It’s considered a sport where synchronicity and coordination of the team is more important than strength.

The local venturer scouts, which are competing for the sixth time, have demonstrated they possess the attributes to successfully compete against their mostly adult competition by their successes in canoe and pirogue races, both local and national. They have won this race three times in five years of competition and have placed second in the other two.

In the race, teams of 20 rowers, 10 paddlers seated on each side of the boat, paddle in unison to the beat of a drummer steered by an oarsman. The paddlers must consist of 10 males and 10 females. Each boat measures 40 feet long and three feet wide with a dragon at the bow and a tail at the stern.

The boats for the race are provided by the Canada Great White North Dragon Boat Association.

Races are scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. with each team paddling three heats with competition concluding with the winner being crowned at about 3 p.m.

Participation in the race by Venture Crew 313 and Venturer Crew 213 is made possible by the sponsorship of the Bogalusa Lions Club.