Thousands showed up for the 10th annual Knoxville Area Rescue Mission Dragon Boat Festival at the Cove at Concord Park in Knoxville Saturday morning.
Teams of 20 paddlers spent the day rowing authentic 46-foot long dragon boats at the Cove - competing to see which team could win the races, have the most fun and raise the most money for KARM, which helps the hurting and homeless.
"Well, we didn't do that great, but it's a beautiful day, it's a beautiful reason to be out here. We're just priveleged to be out here and support Karm," said Larry Allen, on Team Summit Life.
Team Highlander won its first race - and as one member tells me, it takes a lot to win:
"You all have to be at the same pace and the same rythm, that's why you have a drummer who's beating the drum at the same time. And at the end, when you're in your power strokes doing battle speed, you're all like, 'Ha! Ha!' and really going together and yelling and encouraging and really trying to get everybody together all at once," said Meg Cockrum, with Fellowship Church's Team Highlanders.
59 teams competed in hopes of raising $187,000 for KARM, which will use the money to provide $100,000 meals this year.
"It's very, very doable for us. Not only because it's a fun way to do it, but the outpouring of support from this community - it oupaces anyplace else I've ever lived. And I've lived in a number of cities - this is great," said Burt Rosen, president and CEO of KARM.
"Knoxville is incredible. It doesn't suprise me one bit that this many people would show up," added Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett.
Many of the racers - and the fans- say they love the competition.
"It's fierce, fun, it's very energetic competion - it's all fun. You meet a lot of people and a lot of companies and make a lot of friends," said Nate Runyons, with the Chattanooga Dragon Boat Club.
"I'm expecting a win today from my daughter and her friends!" said Janet Cockrum.
Rick Cox Construction took first place in the races, followed by Sono. Fellowship Church's Team Highlanders took home the bronze.