Dragons invade Waterford ponds

The Knotical Disaster team (foreground, boat number 1) was unable to hold their early lead on Saturday July 20, 2019 during a race in the fourth annual Invasion of the Dragons in Waterford, Ontario. Brian Thompson / The Expositor

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WATERFORD Mike Schneider was recruited to take part in the dragon boat races on Waterford ponds a few years ago when a team needed to fill its ranks with a few more paddlers.

“I pitched in and it was a lot of fun,” said the Waterford man, who captained this year’s Knotical Disaster team representing Axiom, a Cambridge millwrighting and fabrication company.

“Everybody loved it; it’s just a lot of fun,” Schneider said. “It’s a great team building thing, and great for the community and the charitable organizations.”

Schneider recruited his neighbours, the McCormick family, to help swell the Axiom team to the required 21 members.

Jessica McCormick said her three children all got chances to participate, including 12-year-old daughter, Lily Henry, who was drummer on the Knotical Disaster boat.

“Usually, I’ll just bang the drum on the pace of what they should be going, but sometimes it doesn’t work because we were not in sync,” the younger drummer said. “I liked watching everyone paddle, and seeing everyone struggle to get in sync.”

Gail Catherwood, co-chair of the fourth annual Invasion of the Dragons , said she is thankful for the event’s sponsors —  MHN Lawyers, the Audrey S. Hellyer Foundation, and Good, Redden and Klosler accountants — whose contributions ensure there is a profit to be made for the charities.

“It costs nearly $20,000 to put this event on,” noted Catherwood, citing expenses that include the company that brings in the boats, gear, docks, and washrooms.

Twenty teams were in this year’s race, each paying a $1,000 entry fee.

“We attract teams from Stratford, Chatham and Woodstock,” said Catherwood, adding that local teams, such as Scotlynn Group, Stelco and the Norfolk OPP, also take part. “It’s fun. They work together, and play together.”

The dragon boat festival raises $10,000 for the CIBC Run for the Cure, and the Cancer Support and Resource Program of Norfolk.

Catherwood also had praise for the Waterford Legion, Lions Club and chamber of commerce, who, along with Norfolk County, donated to ensure water and hydro services were put into the park for this week’s festival and for future events.

Kim Mitchell, accounting manager at Ingenia Polymers, said this was the third year the Brantford company had entered a team.

“We try to do things with our employees,” said Mitchell.

“We thought this sounds like a great event, goes to a great cause, and it’s fun.

“We got the bronze, and, overall, I think we improved from last year. So, we’re happy.”

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