Dragon Races 

How many times have you said to youself, "You know, I'd probably enjoy the valuable team-building lessons and friendly competition found in Dragon Boat racing events, but those Chinese teak wood boats are so delicate and slender and I'm a big ol' barbecue-loving couch potato"?

No worries. Dragon Boat racing promoter and enthusiast Penny Behling explains: "The teak wood boats are found mostly in China. My boats are made of fiberglass. They're made in Germany by a company called BuK, and they are specifically designed for fat Americans.

"Dragon Boat racing is easy to lean but hard to master," Behling adds. "That said, it's the sort of sport where anything can happen. I've seen novice corporate teams beat racing clubs that have been working together for years."

Behling has just returned from a Dragon Boat race in Ohio and says she's especially impressed with Memphis' response to its first racing season. "In Cleveland, there were only 14 teams. We've got 37 teams for the Memphis race. That's great for a first-year event."

Dragon Boats were developed in China's Pearl River delta region 2,300 years ago. They are 46 feet long and powered by 20 rowers who follow the steady beat of a drummer at the rear.

The Inaugural Duncan-WIlliams Dragon Boat Races commence on Saturday, September 24th, in the Wolf River at Mud Island. Admission and parking are free. racedragonboats.com

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