The Parkes Dragon Boat Club could not have asked for a better launch at Lake Endeavour last Saturday when about 300 people turned up on a glorious autumn day. Supported by members of regional dragon boat clubs from Bathurst, Orange, Forbes and Dubbo, a queue started forming after the official proceedings as just about everyone
wanted a turn to paddle on the shimmering blue water.
Town Crier Tim Keith started the official launch calling the large crowd together. Mayor Ken Keith led the welcome saying: “We are absolutely delighted to be here for the launch of the Parkes Dragon Boat Club on Lake Endeavour.”
Geoff Anderson’s did a special Wiradjuri welcome to country and said the closest translation for dragon in Wiradjuri was Miirin gadhang – angry lizard. Fortunately there were only beaming Parkes Dragons, and happy “new recruits” as they stepped off the boat after an exhilarating paddle.
The traditional Chinese ceremony of Awakening of the Dragon was read by steering committee member Debra Tooley, with Leisal Walters dotting the eyes of the dragon and wishing well to its crews. Parkes Dragons’ coach Warren Edwards read the ancient paddlers’ oath: “I promise to take part in this sport showing mutual respect and abiding by the rules that govern, with the dragon spirit in heart and mind, for the glory of the dragon boat and the honour of all teams.”
To conclude the ceremony, the awakened dragon was ‘shown around’ in a circular paddle to introduce it to the spirits of the water in its new home of Lake Endeavour, that is coincidentally shaped like a dragon. Parkes Dragons’ President Bill Thomas thanked the Parkes Steering Committee for their great work in hosting such a triumphant
day. He also thanked the Parkes community for their interest and support and the regional Dragon Boat community for their help.
The Parkes Dragons will train on Lake Endeavour on Sunday mornings. It is wise to check in with the Parkes Dragon Boat Club Facebook page each week before heading out to the Lake, or get on the mailing list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Beth Thomas