JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - What do a drum, a boat, and a 200-meter race have in common? The annual Dragon Boat Festival and teams were racing across the water at Winged Deer Park to beat the fastest time. Plus, it was for a good cause.
Paddlers needed some coaching but the Life Care-ibbean Pirates were ready to race this big challenge on the water. "We communicate more with the drummer and that was our saving grace out there. Because as our drummer would drum, that was when we stuck our paddles in the water," said team member Jennifer Solomon.
About 50 teams hit the water at this year's Dragon Boat Festival and some teams like the Nursing Ninjas practiced a bit. "For about 30 minutes we just would go out with a paddle trainer and they would teach us how to paddle and stay in time," said team Captain Lauren Hazelwood.
But teams were working together before the race even started. "It will be [money raised] for the programs and services for radiation and oncology," said Patty Bolton with Mountain States Foundation.
Dragon Boat teams have been making a difference over the last seven years to the tune of almost $600,000. Most would agree, win or lose, this race is so worth it. "It's a blessing, it's a blessing to know that we're doing something good and we're having a good time at it too," said Solomon.
All of the money raised at the Dragon Boat Festival stays local. News 5 learned in the past, this event has helped Niswonger Children's Hospital as well as the Heart Coach you may see driving around. It's also one of the biggest events for Mountain States Foundation.