MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – The racing fever was running rampant on the waters near the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center Saturday morning.
“The FUSE Project has been very on top of the logistics and everything it’s run very smoothly and it’s just a great day on the water and a lot of fun helping to raise money for the community,” Patrick Byrne, a racer with Hargrove Engineers, said.
Saturday marked the inaugural Dragon Boat Festival hosted by the FUSE Project. Logistics were no small feat for the group who had to manage 25 teams comprised of 21 members a piece.
“There’s not many things where you can have such a large team of people get together and do something like this. We just thought it was really, really neat. So we had to bring it to Mobile,” Melanie Bosby, one of the FUSE directors, said.
The event was marked by costumed drummers and dedicated rowers. It was used to raise money for the Alabama Coastal Foundation as well as the Mobile County Public School System.
“We also wanted to be one of the first ones to sign up for the dragon boat race. It’s an awesome, awesome event, and it’s a great way to raise some money for an awesome non-profit in our area.
Josh Woods, a racer with The Grounds, said.
The event was split into three waves of races with breaks in between for dances, and a performance by the group, Beast of the Bayou.
Racers said beyond raising money for a good cause, it was also a chance for some good team building.
“Going into it, we didn’t know what to expect, but one we got out there and started rowing together as a team, it made a big difference. We were able to make up the gap when we were behind. So we ended up winning the race,” Woods said.
And race organizers said based on this year’s success, they’ll have to make a bigger footprint for next year’s races.
“Next year I think that we are going to have to find more space because it has just been such a popular event. We’ve had such a wonderful turnout this year,” Bosby said.
Organizers said they were able to raise about $50,000 from the event.