Teams Row For A Cause at 2011 Dragon Boat Festival

By KBJR News 1

August 27, 2011 Updated Aug 27, 2011 at 6:28 PM CST

Superior, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) -Teams from all over the Northland gathered for the 450 meter race in Superior Bay.

With the beat of a drum and the stroke of a paddle, teams in Superior Bay battled it out to crown the champion of the 2011 Dragon Boat Festival Saturday.

While some teams take dragon boat racing very seriously, others see it differently, especially the training.

"Keg twirling, Bar Hall dancing, really good starts for that -if you can get in the boat and handle an ore your on the tea," said Mike Kepalin with Team Pope's Paddlers.

Teams taking the less competitive path to the races are still here for the right reasons

Pope's Paddlers from Superior are helping out the Navigation program, which helps cancer patients avoid red tape to get their treatment faster.

"It's huge, it's really great, ya know the funny thing about it is everybody knows somebody that's had cancer, a loved one that has passed away, survivors and everything i know myself I'm fortunate my father is a survivor," said Kepalin

Other teams, like the Survivor's and Supports are comprised of cancer survivors and their families.

"When your feeling down, its nice to have somebody pick you up that's what it's all about," said Travis Preiner, a cancer survivor.

Preiner has been doing to race for five years.

His sister keeps the time he was sick close to her heart.

"For me he's always been really physical and when he was diagnosed with cancer he had to be layed up for quite awhile it was really hard to see that and watch that," said Tina Kauma, sister of Travis Preiner.

But Travis bounced back and so did their team, they are doing better than every other year they've competed, but they're not focused on that.

"It's cool just to get everybody together and just get pumped up for something that doesn't matter,"

This year is record breaking for the Dragon Boat races, with 96 teams competing.