“Paddles Up,” called the helmsman. The shout echoed across the water on Chaplin’s Lake. The crew aboard the dragon boat raised their oars in anticipation. The whistle blew and with five powerful strokes, the boat began to slide through the water.
One – Two – Three – Four – Five
The crew began to chant as they paddled, sometimes it was perfect harmony, sometimes it was a mess. But that’s what’s practice is for.
This journey began with a bit of curiosity. With no team to speak of, the Natchitoches Parish Journal and Elite Radio Group were still interested in what it takes to man a dragon boat. Director of First Year Experience at NSU, Van Erikson issued an invitation to satisfy that curiosity.
Challenge accepted! The crew consisted of one editor, one sales manager, one intern, one radio host, a few contributing writers, and a few NSU students. It was high energy and it took teamwork. It was a whole lot of work, but it was also a whole lot of fun!
Northwestern State University’s Office of First Year Experience will host the 4th annual Natchitoches Dragon Boat Races Saturday, April 13 at the newly renovated downtown Natchitoches riverbank. Twenty-three teams have registered so there’s bound to be some serious competition!
This year, the races will be planned and executed by the Demon VIP (Volunteers in Progress) organization on campus, to provide students with a real-world event planning experience. All proceeds will go to fund future leadership initiatives at NSU.
Races will begin at 8 a.m. and will continue throughout the day with vendors, music and activities for families and spectators. The On Point Band will play music from 11-1. This event is free and open to the public.
This entire event wouldn’t be possible without 22 Dragons, a dragon boat club from the heart of Montreal with 14 years of experience helping municipalities, organizations and charities create and run their own dragon boat festivals.