Several Murray State students from both the main campus and the Paducah extended campus ditched their books for life jackets last Saturday and competed in a rather unordinary event on the river in Paducah, Ky.
A fundraiser for Paducah’s River Discovery Center, the Dragon Boat Festival, began at 9 a.m. on the Ohio River in downtown Paducah.
The event was run by a Canadian company that puts dragon boat races together in several different areas. Twenty-five teams participated, paddling rowing boats with dragon heads attached to the front down a 250-foot course.
Each boat was manned by a crew of approximately 20 people. Several of the students on the Murray State team are members of the rowing club team.
While the rowing students initially worried about the difference between the race boats they are used to and the unusual dragon boats used on Saturday, the team was able to take advantage of a safety instruction session and a few practice sessions.
They were able to easily overcome the differences in style and came home with a first place finish. In addition, the team set a new world record, completing the course in 53.52 seconds.
The team was awarded a dragon trophy which they will keep for a year until next year’s festival when they will have a chance to defend their championship.