The Dragonboat Racing Association of Colorado (DRACO) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose primary goal is to promote dragon boat racing in Colorado. We provide an inclusionary, family-friendly training environment, and everyone is encouraged to participate, regardless of age, ability, financial resources, political/religious affiliation, sexual orientation, etc. Our programs also provide a positive recreational outlet for at-risk youth, and encourage the development of confidence, discipline and self-esteem. We never want anyone to be excluded based solely on finances, so we often provide “informal” scholarships to those in need, defraying costs associated with participating using our own funds. In addition, we frequently organize activities that involve our members in events that support a variety of other local charitable organizations.
Until 2007, dragon boating in Colorado as a one-weekend-per-year activity. Dragon boats were hauled in from Iowa on trailers for an annual festival; each team was allowed 45 minutes to practice in a dragon boat the day before the event, and then raced the following day.
That all changed when, w/ assistance from the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival (CDBF), a small, avid group of local dragon boat enthusiasts (including two of our coaches, Michael J. Boyd and Tom Ging) formed a racing association to facilitate dragon boating on a year-around basis. This organization is now known as the Dragonboat Racing Association of Colorado, or DRACO (latin for “Dragon”). To help facilitate this group’s objectives, CDBF acquired two dragon boats in the spring of 2007 .
Most DRACO members and teams join in order to train for the local Colorado Dragon Boat Festival. However, another major goal of our organization is to grow – both in membership and financially – so that our members and/or affiliated teams can regularly travel to compete in other venues. In that light, October of 2009 marked another milestone for the organization – a core group of DRACO members (along with a few added paddlers from out of state) formed a team to compete in the inaugural Rose Regatta in Henderson/Las Vegas. This was the first time a Colorado dragon boat team had ever ventured out of state to race! One of our affiliated teams, the Phantom Dragons, now races in at least three festivals each year, and is hoping to expand so that more are possible.
At present, DRACO conducts its dragon boat training sessions at two venues. During the summer season (roughly May through October), “on-the-water” outdoor practices are held at Lake Arbor in Arvada, using two new 10-man dragon boats acquired in 2012. Off season / early season indoor sessions are held in the swimming pool at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center, using a pool paddling simulator designed and constructed by Coach Michael Boyd. DRACO has the benefit of two Dragon Boat Canada Level I certified coaches, plus two who recently travelled to Pickering, Ontario to complete their advanced DBC Level II Competitive courses. Coach Michael Boyd has received his official DBC Level II certification, and also had the honor of being the first Colorado paddler to ever try out for and be selected to compete on a Team USA crew in the IDBF Dragon Boat World Championships.
DRACO provides coaching and paddling opportunities for all ages and ability levels. Please let us know if you are interested in paddling with DRACO, or if you would be interested in providing charitable support to our organization.
For additional information concerning DRACO, please Contact Us!