Story and Photos by Sylvia Labelle (ISN)
August 20, 2013, Edmonton, AB (ISN) – Edmonton’s 17th annual Dragon Boat races got underway with the Novice 250 meter races on Friday night; each novice team must have at least 10 first year rowers of the total 22 member team.
Saturday the timed heats were rowed, with each team racing once in the morning and once in the afternoon, and the combined times of the 2 races will determine their placement in the semifinals on Sunday. When severe weather rolled in Saturday afternoon the races were immediately cancelled and only the Saturday morning race times were used.
Ceremonies under way at the dragon boat races – Photo by Sylvia Labelle (ISN)
The semifinals to determine the placement in the afternoon finals were raced in the morning before the Breast Friends Challenge Race and Ceremony finished the morning schedule.
A creative decorated asian hat helps keep the hot sun at bay – Photo by Sylvia Labelle (ISN)
Breast cancer survivors have been a large part of the Dragon Boat Festival for 15 of its 17 year history in Edmonton. Each year members of the Breast Friend Society enter teams in the race as part of their healing process and they invite teams from other cities as well.
Ryan Seeras keeping pace on the water – Photo by Sylvia Labelle (ISN)
This year the two Edmonton teams, the Juggernauts and the Titans and were joined by the ‘Sistership Calgary’ for the Breast Friends Challenge. After the challenge race the teams took part in a ceremony honouring everyone whose life has been touched by breast cancer.
Jamine Doonanco, Lindsay Burnell, Tim Lutic participating in the festivities – Photo by Sylvia Labelle (ISN)
They received high fives from the public while walking along the walkway towards a platform where a ceremony was being held remembering and honouring both the victims and the survivors of this dreadful disease. They listened to their theme song ‘The River’ after which they tossed pink carnations into the North Saskatchewan River.
“Row” – encouraging the team to the finish line – Photo by Sylvia Labelle (ISN)
Emotions ran high among the participants and spectators alike, as nearly everyone has been touched in one way or another by this most feared disease among women.
Simon Collier all decked out – Photo by Sylvia Labelle (ISN)
The finals were raced in the afternoon with the ‘Red Eyes’ Paddling Club winning gold, ’22 items for $3.99′ rowing to silver medal placement and the Flaman Dragon Slayers taking in the bronze in the Aurora Division.
Hard Work on a hot day – Photo by Sylvia Labelle (ISN)
All 45 teams in the festival raced with great determination to get their best possible time and finish.
Contests were also held for the best team cheer, the best dressed steer person and the best decorated Asian hat contest.
Grit and determination – Photo by Sylvia Labelle (ISN)
Smiles of Joy – Photo by Sylvia Labelle (ISN)