Dragon-boaters get ready to row - Humane Society fundraiser takes to river Saturday

The Warren Sentinel

FRONT ROYAL — Boats will glide across the Shenandoah River this weekend in an effort to raise money for the homeless animals of Warren County during the 4th Annual Waggin for Dragon races.

The event is the Humane Society of Warren Countyís largest fundraiser. Last year, the record for money raised was set at about $42,000.

Fourteen teams are signed up to participate in this yearís races, which will kick off Saturday shortly after a 9:15 a.m. opening ceremony at the Front Royal Golf Club boat landing.

Each team was required to raise a minimum of $2,000 before the event. They will have booths set up to garner more donations through 2 p.m. The event is free to watch.

Trolleys will begin picking up spectators at 8 a.m. in the Walmart and Target parking lots. There will be a series of 200-meter races expected to last until about 3 p.m. The races consist of long boats with 20 paddlers, one steer person and one drummer, the eventís website says.

The drummer sits at the head of the boat, providing a beat to keep the crew's rows in unison. This is an important job because the key to racing is synchronized rows, rather than the crew's strength.

All funds raised go toward operating the non-profit humane society. The money allows for the purchase of emergency veterinary care, medications, food, bedding, toys, shelter repairs, and more.

Humane Society Director Lavenda Denney said the event helps close the financial gap the organization dealt with for many years.

"It has been instrumental in helping us become a no-kill shelter," she said.

Dragon Boat racing began in China, and gained popularity during the 1970s in North America, according to the event's website.

It is now the fastest growing water sport in the world. The necessary teamwork has made it a popular event at corporate team building events and fundraisers, the website says.

Denney encouraged people to come out and watch the event to witness exciting and fun competition.

"Waggin for Dragons is a fun community event, and you're definitely going to see things that you've never seen before," Denney previously said. "You can fill along the bank of the Shenandoah River and watch the race."

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