By Kevin Shannahan
Northwestern State University’s Chaplin’s Lake was the scene of a good natured battle for nautical bragging rights Saturday, March 4 as 15 teams of 20 paddlers competed in the second annual Natchitoches Dragon Boat Races. The popular event, which doubled in size from last year’s seven teams, is a fundraiser for the NSU Alumni Foundation. The money raised today will be used for events, programing and scholarships for deserving students. Last year’s races raised $25,000, while this year’s event is expected to raise over $40,000, according to Van Erikson, Associate Director of Alumni Affairs.
Each dragon boat is crewed by 20 people, accompanied by a drummer who keeps the crew rowing in unison. This year’s field included more teams featuring various student oganizations at NSU. The City of Natchitoches fielded the “Natchitoches Nightmare”, while the Bank of Montgomery brought out the “BOM Squad.” A group of Natchitoches Parish educators, “#Paddlesup” had the best dressed drummer. Making a return trip to the competition were the soldiers of Fort Polk’s 115th Combat Support Hospital. After the races, the soldiers were treated to complimentary tickets for the Demons and Lady Demons basketball double-header.