EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- Thousands turned out Saturday to watch a battle of the paddles for a good cause.
The 2nd Annual Half Moon Dragon Boat Festival by Mayo Clinic Health System took place at Half Moon Lake in Eau Claire to help raise funds for hospice care.
“I still remember the last phone conversation I had with my dad, I was driving home from the cities and he was laughing and joking on the other end,” said Manda Henry of Eau Claire.
Henry, a dragon boat racer, whose team won the competition, last year, says Saturday’s dragon boat race is not only about being the best team.
“It goes to support such a great cause, something I’m very passionate about, and that's why we got involved with it,” Henry said.
That cause: raising funds for hospice care.
“We work really hard so that all the new lives can start their lives with dignity and that’s what we're doing with this,” said Anna Sizer, the Community Event Director for Mayo Clinic Health System. “That last stage of life, its important that we all die with dignity, and hospice services isn’t just for the patient, it’s for the whole family.”
A total of 52 teams supported this year's dragon boat festival; that's more than 1,300 participants taking their paddles to the water.
Teams paddle their fastest the 250 meter race course consisting of 20 paddlers, one drummer and a steersperson.
In total, $209,000 was raised Saturday for hospice care, but donations can still be made at any Holiday gas station until August 12th.
Market & Johnson’s team "Constructing a Win" took the first place trophy Saturday with the fastest time on the water.
WEAU was also back out on the water this year with another team of paddlers.
On land, Bob Gallaher took on the role of emcee again this year.
Team WEAU had an Olympics theme for the dragon boat event; however, no gold medal for us…maybe next year.