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The 2022 Badger Lake Dragon Boat Bash ended in a photo-finish – and a tie.
In the A Division Finals, the Motley Crew, of Racine, Wis.; The NEW Dragon Masters Cooperative, Fort Dodge; and the Cedar River Gang of eastern Iowa, were neck and neck as the teams paddled Lake Badger.
In the end, The Motley Crew and the Dragon Masters crossed the finish line together, with a time of 97.4 seconds, or 1.623 minutes. The Cedar River Gang was not far behind with a final time of 98.1 seconds, or 1.635 minutes.
“If someone wasn’t there at the end of the day to see the last race, they probably missed one of the best races I’ve been in in 25 years,” said event co-chair Barb Michaels.
Although the excitement was at the end of the day, the main event was the afternoon ceremony for breast cancer survivors. The Badger Lake Dragon Boat Bash celebrates and honors local women who have survived or are still battling breast cancer. According to event co-chair Linda Donner, a silent auction raised more than $5,000 for UnityPoint Health’s Cancer Center – Trinity Regional Medical Center to help cover uninsured patient needs.
The event took root many years ago when Daybreak Rotary Club members Donner and Michaels started a cleanup event on the Des Moines River. After a few years of this, the river became too low to descend, and the club decided they were ready to pass the event on to another group. That’s what started the Badger Lake Dragon Boat Association, Michaels said.
“One of the other things we’ve done as an organization has been to help start breast cancer teams in the Midwest,” Michaels said. “We have created our own breast cancer team, which offers support to newly diagnosed women.”
Three teams of breast cancer survivors competed on Saturday – Fighting Angels Abreast, of Fort Dodge; Life is Happiness, by Ames; and KC Pink Warriors of Kansas City.
“On the boat, nothing else exists, except that moment”, Michaels said at the breast cancer survivor ceremony. “What a positive way to live life, especially for a survivor.”
The survivors were all given pink carnations to throw in the lake in honor of those battling breast cancer.
In the boats, 20 paddlers, a drummer and a helmsman, work in unison to propel their boats through the water.
“The main objective is teamwork, because if you don’t work together you can’t make things happen”, Michaels said. “And that’s especially true in the boat.”
It takes dozens of volunteers to organize the Badger Lake Dragon Boat Bash — which kicked off with a concert and fireworks Friday night at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park. The volunteers did everything from running the concessions, loading the boats, timing the races, assisting with parking, and more.
“We can’t thank our volunteers enough” Michaels said. “We had a small but mighty army of volunteers.”
Motley Crew – 1,623 (in minutes)
NEW Cooperative Dragon Masters – 1,623
Cedar River Gang – 1,635
Interstate – 1,703
Silver Bullet – 1.848
Cargill corn rowers – 1.917
Eagle Team – 2.106
Dragoneirs – 2,451
breast cancer survivors
KC Rose Warriors – 1,800
Life is happiness – 1.974
Fight the Angels head-on – 2.199