The 16th Badger Lake Dragon Boat Bash at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park continued Saturday with races taking place.
"We're almost through," Barb Michaels, event co-chair, said. "We have all the teams placed in the brackets. Some about to race for medals. It's kind of exciting right now."
After 2 p.m., the Fighting Angels Abreast team of Fort Dodge competed against the Dragon Dreamers for the B-Division bronze metal. The Dragon Dreamers took an early lead, but the Fighting Angels came up fast from behind, paddling furiously to take first place.
"It was awesome," Marilyn Meier, co-captain said. "I think they think I'm a slave-driver because I was telling them, they can do better than that. And we really went for it."
Taking the lead and winning the medal was a challenge for the team of 21 paddlers, Meier said.
"We were having fun. That's for sure," she said. "We've had a good time all day."
The Fighting Angels Abreast participated in the bash to create awareness of breast cancer.
"We're breast cancer survivors," Meier said. "We come out every Sunday and practice here at (Badger Lake) for the Fort Dodge team. We travel to promote awareness, and we do public service in the community. It's for a good time, and for a good cause."
Michaels said all of the teams were performing excellently.
"We have some tight races here for first, second and third place. So that's going to be an interesting challenge," she said.
Dragon boat racing is an ancient Chinese sport, brought to the U.S. about 20 years ago, Michaels said.
"It's a great team-building sport:," she said. "Anybody can dragon boat, at any age. I've seen people as young as 11 and as old as their 70s paddling. Great camaraderie, great team-building, great physical exercise. And just a lot of fun."
The annual event helps to create awareness of breast cancer and honor its survivors, Michaels said.
"We have with us today four breast cancer survivor teams," she said. "Those teams are predominantly women who have fought and survived the breast cancer battle. We're going to be honoring them a little bit later with the breast cancer ceremony. A part of our event is money for services at Trinity Regional Medical Center's Cancer Center."
The 16th annual event was the biggest yet, according to Michaels.
"We're really proud to say we have 20 teams here today, and it's the most we've had in a number of years," she said.
Every year, the crowds for the event gets bigger, Michaels said.
"We had great crowds here last night for the bands and the teams are having a blast," she said. "We had a Zumba flash mob out here earlier today and everybody was dancing on the beach. It's a little chilly, but everybody's having fun."
Michaels said it was heartening to see so much support for the event and its cause.
"This is our first year as the Badger Lake Dragon Boat Association running this event, so it's been a bit of a struggle to keep things moving forward," she said. "But really the community rallied behind us. We have tons of volunteers from some of our companies. Some of the other employers have brought tons of volunteers to help some more at the event. It seems to be going well. It's nice to know that the community thinks it's a good thing as well."
The bash concluded with a ceremony honoring breast cancer survivors and an awards ceremony.