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A Paddler's Perspective

It is an event unlike any you have ever experienced. 

And it's back at the Sparks Marina!

The annual Northern Nevada International Dragon Boat Festival celebrates ancient Chinese culture, sport, and the natural wonders of the Reno-Sparks region. Dragon boat racing consists of up to 20 members in a boat with a steerer and a drummer, and each team races a total of three times throughout the day. Immunize Nevada is proud to be the charity of benefit for this awe-inspiring event! Teams, paddlers, and spectators alike can help support our life-saving mission by supporting the Pledges for Paddlingprogram. In addition to helping us promote health and prevent disease, participants have the time of their lives! But don't take our word for it, here are some thoughts from those who have raced with the dragons!

Emma Garcia-Rider, Immunize Nevada Volunteer and UNR School of Medicine Graduate

One day you get a text message from your sister that is *ahem* politely telling you that she has signed you up to paddle across the Sparks Marina in a dragon boat. My immediate thought was “No.” But realizing my sister knows fun better than anyone else I just showed up and let life take me. I am glad that I did. I wasn’t able to come to the practice the night before so I wasn’t sure what to expect since I’ve never rowed outside the gym or paddled in my life. Thankfully the team was full people I had run the Reno Tahoe Odyssey previously but no one of my team was conformable with paddling. But we came up with a game plan and hit the water. We got the initial kinks out when we paddled to the start line. We took a couple minutes to line up with the other boats and then we were off. The rush of attempting to be in sync with the entire boat was exhilarating and within 3 minutes the whole thing was over. We came in second. Everyone in the boat was hooked for more. As we got off the boat, we started planning for the next heat and how to improve our paddling. It was the fastest team building experience I had ever been apart of. We had never been in a dragon boat but all that was needed was a fighting spirit. Since then I have been to the Dragon Boats every year and I wouldn’t miss it. I love it because no weeks of training is involved. All I have to do is show up and have a great time!

Tom Kohler, Dragon Boat Committee Member and Dragon Boat Racer

Dragonboating has been one of my life passions for a score of years. I picked up my first paddle in 1997, and joined a team in Portland OR. I made so many friendships, and joined a great community. Not to mention, the best full body workout you'll ever have. Shoulders for days! There's nothing quite like that 3 minutes. Close races are amazing, the energy, the excitement. Such a thrilling way to spend the day. I'm hoping I can impart skills as well as match the enthusiasm my original coach did for everyone involved!

Chelsey Brice, #TeamVaccine paddler 

2018 was the first year I raced in the Dragon Boats. Having never been before, I was a little nervous I wouldn’t be very good at paddling a Dragon Boat, but the staff on-site does a great job instructing you. My husband, coworkers and I had a great day out at the marina, we paddled in four races, and got a second-place medal. It was a great way to spend a Saturday and a fun new thing to try! I definitely recommend giving Dragon Boats a try.

Immunize Nevada

Immunize Nevada, an award winning 501c3 non profit, is widely recognized as Nevada’s trusted resource for immunizations and community health for all ages by fostering education and statewide collaboration.