Christus St. Patrick hosts dragon boat races Saturday

By By Jordan Gribble / Special to the American Press

The Christus St. Patrick Foundation will host its first Dragon Boat Races 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Lake Charles

Civic Center seawall.

“The key to dragon boating is not so

much about brute strength, but about getting everybody rowing at the

same time,” said

Chuck O’Connor, annual events manager for the foundation. “That’s

what gives the boat its speed and gets it to surge out of

the water and move sleekly ahead.”

Thirty teams — their members from local businesses and industries — will compete. Backyard Cowboys will perform after the

race.

Teams will run preliminary races to get their best qualifying times, which will be used to determine the brackets they’ll

compete in during the finals. The first-place winner will get a large trophy to display until the winner of 2014’s race is

announced.

O’Connor said the sport is unusual to an area that sees its fair share of watersports and must be seen to be believed.

“I was watching them practice and as

the dragon boats moved past, I could see people standing on the seawall

watching and

see all of their heads turning,” he said. “It’s definitely

something different. We don’t see dragons on the lake very often.”