Dragons and Gunslingers

Arkansas Cycling & Fitness.


May 18th was an active day for events in Central Arkansas. One of those events was the inaugural River Cities Dragon Boat Festival on Victory Lake at Burns Park in North Little Rock. According to the festival website, Dragon Boat racing is an ancient tradition:

Dating back more than 2,300 years, Dragon Boat racing features teams of 20 paddlers with a drummer and a steerer in authentic Hong-Kong style, 46-foot-long dragon boats. All skill levels and physiques can paddle, making it the ultimate team-building sport, requiring synchronicity and finesse, more than power to win.

In addition to giving a few brave souls a chance to paddle, get wet, compete and dress in costume while having all this fun, the purpose of the festival is to raise funds for the Children’s Protection Center, a non-profit, child advocacy and safety center that works with members of the Pulaski County Multidisciplinary Child Abuse Team, law enforcement professionals, child forensic interviewers, medical and mental health professionals, social workers, and victim assistance professionals. Services offered by the center include a place to conduct forensic interviews of child victims in a child friendly environment, advocacy, and referrals to the most appropriate services for the child and the families. The center also tracks investigative, prosecutorial, child protection, advocacy, and treatment efforts to ensure that the child’s case does not “fall through the cracks”. Additionally they are geared toward preventing child abuse using prevention approaches that reduce vulnerability to victimization, reduce offending behaviors, increase positive influence of bystanders, and address conditions in society that perpetuate violence and child abuse. Each team was asked to raise funds and as of Wednesday May 22nd, the amount raised was at 52% of the $100,000 goal. You can still help by donating directly to the fund or by donating to support a particular team here.

See also  Burns Park is Back...Kinda'


More information about the Children’s Protection Center is available on their website at http://childrensprotectioncenter.org/

Holly and Kristi
Holly and Kristi

Arkansas Outside couldn’t be at the festival but we are lucky enough to have friends and supporters who also love to play outside and do good things for the community. Friends of AO Holly Heer and Kristi Wallace-Smith participated in a rowing crew after being recruited by Sherwood Police Detective Spence, AKA Holly’s Uncle Tony, for the Sherwood FOP Lodge #15. Their team moniker is the Blue Line Gunslingers. Team Gunslingers was captained by Detective Spence and Detective Heather Meadows, both of the Criminal Investigation Division. Please consider donating to the Gunslinger’s fund, one of the big wishes on their list is to purchase recording equipment that allows young victims to testify remotely without having to relive and repeat their story multiple times or in front of their alleged abuser. You can find their fund at the bottom of the fundraising page under Sherwood Lodge 15 Blue Line.

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The Blue Line Gunslingers Crew.
The Blue Line Gunslingers Crew.

But the event was also about fun on the water. Boats of 20 paddlers, with 8 female paddlers per boat, and a drummer took to the water to race each other. The party atmosphere was aided by costumes, a best drummer competition and the camaraderie and gentle or not so gentle competition between the teams. Team Gunslingers finished in 5th place in the paddling but had better luck with their fundraising efforts earning them second place in that area. You can see the results for all teams here.


The fun continued after the racing with food vendors and team cookouts lasting into the afternoon.





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