In 2003, a group of TaeKwon-Do instructors and students from Maestas TaeKwon-Do formed a dragon boat team to race in the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival as a fund-raiser, generating money to send several students to Australia to compete in an international TaeKwon-Do Tournament. Not only was the event a success from a fund-raising standpoint, the “Dungeonless Dragons” enjoyed paddling so much that they decided to race again the next year . . . and the next . . . and just kept on paddling.
Members of this team included several of the founding fathers of the Dragonboat Racing Association of Colorado (DRACO), an organization formed is to promote dragon boat racing in Colorado on a year-around basis. DRACO was initially organized as an affiliate of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival organization (CDBF), which hosts its own prestigious event each summer. On February 29, 2012, DRACO filed Articles of Incorporation, becoming an independent, Colorado Non-Profit Corporation.
Over a period of time, the natural evolution of the Dungeonless Dragons team led to diminished involvement on the part of most of the original Maestas TaeKwon-Do group. Ultimately, the team elected to establish a fresh identity as an independent, competitive team, with a primary goal of training dragon boat paddlers and/or teams to compete in national and international races . . . the Phantom Dragons were born.
In 2009, Phantom Dragons paddlers raced in the inaugural Rose Regatta in Las Vegas, marking an important milestone. That was the first time Colorado sent a dragon boat team to compete outside of the Denver area! The team has since followed up with trips to San Diego, Arizona, and the San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival. Although the team is still far from the top in terms of competitive performance, it has been very successful in putting Colorado dragon boating on the map on a national level, as recognized in a letter Senator Mark Udall sent commending the team’s accomplishments.
The Phantom Dragons crew includes several paddlers who have raced for over 10 years, and eight who have attended week-long dragon boat training camps in Florida. Four have taken Dragon Boat Canada coaching certification courses (one holding Level II, Competitive Team certification). In addition, it has access to a relative wealth of training equipment, including two 10-man dragon boats, three outrigger canoes (an OC-2 and two OC-1s), and a pool simulator for winter training.
The Phantom Dragons recently celebrated another landmark event. Team Captain Michael J. Boyd (Captain Bligh) became the first paddler from Colorado to try out for and be selected to compete on a Team USA Crew in a world championship level event. Boyd had the honor of stroking for the Team USA Senior C Mixed Crew in the IDBF World Championships held in Welland, Ontario in August, 2015.
Come join us now, and find out just how much fun dragon boating can be!