WHEELING, W.Va., Aug. 26, 2019 — West Liberty University earned another laurel over the weekend winning the Dragon Boat Race, held as a fundraiser by King’s Daughters Child Care. WLU’s team, known as Topp-Oars, earned first place, with a time of 1:07.567. WesBanco’s River Bankers came in second.
“It was an amazing experience and unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of. Working with 20 other WLU students, alumni and employees, we learned quickly how to work as a team and to win at something as uncommon as Dragon Boat racing. Following commands and moving the boat was a challenge but it was just an incredible experience for a great cause and we’re looking forward to next year,” said Alexis Montes, captain of the Topp-Oars.
Montes is a former Hilltopper student-athlete who graduated in 2016. She now works as athletic advancement coordinator for the Hilltoppers.
“We were all former athletes or current athletes and competitors, so we definitely had the adrenalin rush to win. It was a great time,” she said.
The Dragon Boats departed from Wheeling Heritage Port into the middle of the river to begin their races which took place all day Saturday, Aug. 24. The weather was perfect for the fifth annual Dragon Boat Race which covered 250 meters upriver. This year’s event featured 17 teams, including local businesses and residents.
“We have 21 people per boat,” Lori Kenamond, a member of the board of directors for King’s Daughters, said. “You have 20 paddlers and one drummer.”
“I think it’s a great team sport and team-building sport. There are a lot of businesses and universities here that choose this for team building, as well as community groups and groups of friends. It’s just something to do socially. … Each boat paid an entry fee, and the proceeds go to King’s Daughters Child Care.”
Jamie Remp, executive director of King’s Daughters Child Care Center, said the goal was to hold a unique fundraiser related to the riverfront.
“We needed to come up with a fundraiser when the I took the job about five years ago. We needed to do something different,” Remp said. “It’s a Chinese tradition, the dragon boat race. … There’s a history to dragon boat racing.”
Remp said the Tennessee-based company Dynamic Racing provides boats and training while King’s Daughters gathers community and corporate teams and sponsors. She said about 400 people compete in the race.
“It’s a great team-building event. Corporations love it for that. … Our community is great for supporting the nonprofits in the Ohio Valley,” she said. “We probably average from this event about $15,000 to $20,000. We’ve had some matching grants for the event in the past.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Quotes from King’s Daughters was taken from an article written by Robert A. DeFrank, Ogden newspapers reporter.