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Racers ready for Dragon Boat Races on Bayou Teche

Posted at 9:01 AM, Mar 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-19 10:01:32-04

This week on Bayou Teche in New Iberia, dragon boat racers are getting in their practice runs for Saturday’s annual Acadiana Dragon Boat Races.

Abby Breidenbach was LIVE this morning with a preview of this weekend’s big race. She also caught up with a group of Canadian racers who are here in Acadiana to participate.

At 8:00 am on Saturday, March 23, opening ceremonies will begin the annual Acadiana Dragon Boat Races on the Bayou Teche. Those who attend can expect a lot more than just a great race, they’ll also experience a great time. Filled with music, a burger cook-off,  full bar, and family fun.

And a group of Canadian dragon boat racers is hoping to get a little more than just rowing practice out of their trip to Acadiana.

“Every spring we go on a training camp, it’s an intense session,” says dragon boat racer Leslie Walker Rice.  “We paddle anywhere between two and four or five hours a day depending on the coach.”

The Canadian racing team 22 Dragons has decided to try something new for spring training this year. For the first time, they’ve made the trek down to New Iberia from Montreal to row on Bayou Teche. Here, they’ll see and do so much they couldn’t up north, while still having some of the cultural comforts of home.

“We have them set up at beautiful places, they’re taking some great tours, eating some great food, so I think it’s a natural fit,” says Wes Robison of On Tap.  “There’s a lot of Acadian correlations between the two areas, so that’s something really special they can’t get anywhere else.”

And they have a few bucket list items that they’re counting on locals to help cross off.

“Culturally, there’s a lot to see and do. We have someone in our team whos a very avid fiddle player, and he’s very interested in your music,” says Rice.  “We’re hoping to see a real alligator, not to see snakes, and we’d like to interact a bit more and hopefully have some of the local cuisine.”

And the destination itself isn’t the only thing that’s new this year. At the end of the week, 22 Dragons will participate in the annual Acadiana Dragon Boat Festival. It’s a family event put on by On Tap and the New Iberia Parks and Rec Enhancement Group to bring the community out for fun, food and a little competition. It’s also a way to give back.

“this year we’re partnered with Boys and Girls Clubs of New Iberia, which we’re really excited about to help them raise awareness,” says Robison

For more information on the Dragon Boat Races, visit the event’s Facebook Page.