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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Dragon boat races are colorful events drawing international crowds.

DRAGON BOAT RACES. Earl Brimeyer brought the sport of dragon boat racing to Dubuque in 1988. Dubuque hosted this area's first dragon boat race with teams from other countries as part of Riverfest activities in 1989. (1)

Elaborately designed and painted, dragon boats are forty-foot long crafts weighing 1,900 pounds and made of jasper wood. The boats are powered by a 22-25-person team including a coxswain who steers, a drummer who beats the stroke rhythm, and a flag catcher who grabs the flag at the end of the 300-meter race. A team's time is recorded when the flag catcher pulls the flag from the water. (2)

During the two-day event on September 9-10, 1989, teams from England, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, two teams from Taiwan including its national champion, and thirty-five teams from the United States competed. The U.S.A. International Dragon Boat races were jointly sponsored by the Dubuque Star Dragons and the American Dragon Boat Association from Burlington. (3)

In September, 1996 Dubuque hosted the fourth International Dragon Boat Festival. The race featured teams from Toronto, Canada; Great Britain; Germany, Italy and Japan. Estimates of the crowd size for the two day event reached 16,000. (4)

In 1997 the 11th annual Dubuque festival began on August 22nd. The one-day event was held on the 23rd with 23 teams. The single day of competition was because Cedar Rapids was holding the international in September. Dubuque was at that time the only city to host nine international teams in one year. In 1998 ten international teams were expected in the city. (5)

1990 Dragon Boat pins.

The three classes of competition include the international cup with the world's best dragon boat teams, corporate cup composed of people with limited experience in dragon boats, and the adventurer's cup made up of novices more interested in the fun of the event than winning.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvlO0VBXdwE ---


1. Hogstrom, Erik. "For the 10th Year in a Row, Dragon Boaters Race for Cancer Awareness. Telegraph Herald, September 7, 2012

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. "Dragon Boat Racing," Dubuque by the Decades, Telegraph Herald, July, 2020, p 48

5. Kramer, James. "Dragon Boaters Get Ready to Roar in Dubuque Waters," Telegraph Herald, August 21, 1997, p. 1. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19970821&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

YouTube user: pvlO0VBXdwE