City of Tacoma News -Dragon Boat Race Team Seeks Members for China Event

“The Tacoma/Fuzhou Sister City Committee is looking for volunteers to join a Dragon Boat Race Team and compete in local and international dragon boat races throughout the year. The committee will review volunteer applications and select 28 team members. Team members must: – Have rowing or paddling experience. – Be able to paddle 600 to 800 meters. – Have swimming experience. – Be 16 years old or older. Each team consists of a team leader, a coach, a coordinator and 25 other members, including a helmsman, drummer, gonger, 20 paddlers and two replacements. Races are friendly, not highly competitive. This year’s first race takes place in Fuzhou, China from May 20 through 24. The team of 28 paddlers will depart from Tacoma May 17 and return May 24. Teams from the United States, Canada, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei and Fuzhou City are invited to participate in the race. Paddlers will pay their own airfare to Fuzhou, approximately $800, and their own health insurance during the trip. Team members may purchase insurance through Sister Cities International at a nominal fee. Fuzhou City will provide meals, accommodations, and transportation within the city during the race period. Team members will also get the chance to take part in a number of sightseeing activities, including a visit to Gu Mountain, Panda World Zoo and a number of historic sites in Fuzhou City. Tacoma’s Dragon Boat Race Team is slated to also compete in Tacoma, Seattle and possibly California and Vancouver, Canada later this year. Dragon boat races are a symbol of Chinese culture and spirit. The multicolored boats with dragon’s heads, long tails and scaly bodies race through the water as teams of paddlers stroke in unison to the finish line. Superstition holds the races ensure prosperous and bountiful crops. The sport has spread to other countries including the U.S. Anyone interested in participating should attend an introductory meeting 6:00 p.m., March 30 in the Olympic Room at the Tacoma Public Library, 1102 Tacoma Avenue. Team practices begin April 10 at the Petrich Marine Dock, 1118 East D Street, Tacoma. The team will practice three times a week until the departure for China.”