A dragon boat race set for Saturday, Sept. 11, is being held to honor local fallen heroes as well as those who died during the nation’s most tragic terrorist attack 20 years ago.
The Blaine Dixon Fallen Heroes Fund Dragon Boat Race will be hosted by Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club, Longstreet Clinic, and Lake Lanier Olympic Park, said the club’s executive director Jim O’Dell.
“We’re holding this race to remember and honor the 9/11 victims as well as our local fallen heroes in emergency response, law enforcement and public safety,” O’Dell said.
The race is named in honor of Hall County Sheriff’s Deputy Blaine Dixon who was shot and killed in the line of duty in July of 2019. Proceeds will be donated to the Blane Dixon Fallen Heroes Fund which will support families of first responders who give their lives while serving the citizens of Hall County.
O’Dell said “Hosting this event along with the 20th anniversary of 9-11, we plan to remember those who lost their lives on that day with moments of silence, pay respect and honor our local heroes, and also to celebrate our freedoms in large part due to those who make this happen and, given the events of the past year-plus, gathering with friends and the community racing together.”
Dragon Boat racing is by its very nature a team sport in close quarters, O’Dell said. “With the boats used for this event holding only 10 paddlers plus a drummer and steersperson, rather than the larger 20 paddler boats, this becomes easier to host with many people still a little leary of the huge crowds of the big boats.”
Entry fee is $400 per team with multi-team discounts. And teams are encouraged to raise an additional $200 or more for the Dixon fund.
Entry includes a one hour practice at the Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club the week preceding the event and will be coached by experienced dragon boat paddlers. While LCKC has life jackets on hand participants are encouraged to bring their own.
Teams must also bring their own drummer (to keep paddlers in sync). Teams will compete on the 200 meter course three times, with the top six teams having an optional 1,000 meter race on a looped course with a slalom section.
Team awards include: Highest Fundraising, Best Dressed Drummer, and Fastest Time of the Day. Three medals will be awarded in each division and category based on finals and include: U-18, Community, Collegiate, Corporate, Law Enforcement, Fire, Medical, Military/Veterans, Government, Breast Cancer Survivor, Open/Premier, SeniorB/Masters 40+, SeniorC/Masters 50+, Men, Women and Mixed. Mixed teams must have at least four women paddlers.
For more information and to register please visit the Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club’s Facebook page @LanierCanoeandKayakClub or on their Google page.
The Blane Dixon Fallen Heroes Fund relies on financial contributions from private citizens, local businesses, and organizations. Anyone willing to donate can do so at www.ngcf.org/donate or by contacting NGCF directly at 770-535-7880.