Dragonboat races on Grand Lake serve as school’s annual service project | SkyHiNews.com

Dragonboat races on Grand Lake serve as school’s annual service project

Blustery weather in Grand Lake couldn't dampen spirits this weekend as local students and community members descended upon the picturesque mountain town to participate in the East Grand Middle School (EGMS) eighth-grader's annual service project.

This year's project was titled "Knight in Shining Armor Dragon Boat Races for Shining Stars". As the name implies the event featured dragonboats on Grand Lake racing in heats of two boats at a time. Paddlers made up of teams of local residents powered the boats that were steered by individuals from the nonprofit organization DRACO, the Dragonboat Racing Association of Colorado.

There were a total of 18 teams participating in the event with 10 rowers on each team. According to Abby Loberg, eighth-grade social studies teacher at EGMS, local fire departments estimated the overall crowd at the event at roughly 300 people, of which approximately 180 were participating paddlers for the races.

The event's races were scheduled to kick off Saturday evening at roughly 5 p.m. Unfortunately a storm front moved into the area shortly before 5 p.m. bringing strong winds and icy driving rain and making conditions on Grand Lake too severe to race. While white caps broke on the water the sky to the southwest began to clear and event organizers kept attendees on site with announcements that races would begin shortly.

As the evening progressed the skies above Grand Lake cleared and the surface of the lake became calm. Organizers called races to the docks to begin loading into boats and the competitions began. Loberg and the EGMS eighth-graders who organized the races initially intended the event to be a double elimination race series. Because of the weather Saturday organizers were forced to work with a shortened timetable. To determine a winning team organizers timed each team as they raced and then pitted the two fastest teams against each other in a championship heat.

The Stand Firm Crossfit Gym in Granby took top honors with their team No. 2 coming in first. The Mountain Top Builders team took home second place honors while the Stand Firm Crossfit Gym Team No. 1 was awarded third place.

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The Knight in Shining Armor Dragon Boat Races for Shining Stars was a fundraising event for the Shining Stars nonprofit organization. All profits from the event were donated to Shining Stars. The EGMS eighth-graders we able to raise over $5,000 on Saturday between boat and paddler entrance fees and funds raised from meal purchases that evening. Approximately $2,100 was raised from food service alone during the event.

Local Grand County restaurants Smokin' Moe's, Sagebrush BBQ & Grill, Sloopy's Grill and Grand Pizza all donated food for the event. Attendees were able to purchase a food ticket for $10 that allowed them to pick up a meal from one of any of the four vendors. All funds raised from food service during the event were donated to Shining Stars and the four restaurants that participated donated all food for the event with no repayment from the organizers.

The event's lead organizer, and eighth-grade social studies teacher, Abby Loberg expressed thanks to the Grand Lake Fire Protection District and the Grand County Sheriff's Office for overseeing safety precautions during the event.

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