Certified Paddling Accountants
Captain: Richie Rochel of Duluth
Participants: Richie Rochel, Bill Whiteside, Ryan Hirsch, Aaron Rehbein, Bryan Denisen, Sean Fill, Brittany Dunkel, Mary Gummerson, Kara Braun, Danielle Yung, Leslie Kooi, Emily Skinner, Brian Bina, Kevin Boerboom, Melissa Whiteside, Tim Balthazor, Pat Jones, Kristin Rensch and Jim Denney.
How did you get your team name? Does it have special meaning? It’s a pun off of our profession of being certified public accountants. It means we’re going to dominate the competition!
How many years have you participated in the festival? Two
How does your team prepare for the event? Our team practices eight days a week for the 53 weeks preceding the event.
Do you have a funny Dragon Boat Festival story? One of the vendors last year sold bright-colored wolf shirts. I bought out the supply of shirts for uniforms, but no one liked my idea for a team shirt. At least I have my own personal supply of awesome wolf shirts now!
What does the festival mean to your team/business and/or the role you play in the community? For some, the festival is just an excuse to get out of the office, but for all of us the festival means an opportunity to give back to the community and support a good cause.
Do you have a team ritual? Not yet since this is only our second year. Next year maybe we’ll have a ritual.
Minnesota Dragon Divas Breast Cancer Survivors
Sponsor: We are sponsored by our friends and families.
Manager: Lynne Schriver-Sheedy
Participants: We have 42 women participating this year on two dragon boat teams: Dragon Divas, Team Courage and Dragon Divas, Team Hope. We are all from the St. Paul/Minneapolis area. The Dragon Divas are an eclectic mix of thriving women of all ages: moms, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, homemakers, scientists, educators, business professionals, health care providers, volunteers and advocates. The Divas are the first known dragon boat team for breast cancer survivors in the Twin Cities.
How did you get your team name? Does it have special meaning? We took a long time determining our team name, the Dragon Divas. Because we are all breast cancer survivors, we encourage others with the disease to understand that there is life after the diagnosis and that exercise and a positive attitude can do so much in assisting in the on-going fight against the disease. We join together and demonstrate that a full and active life is possible following the diagnosis of breast cancer.
How many years have you participated in the festival? This is our fifth year at the festival. We love it!
How does your team prepare for the event? The Dragon Divas teams practice beginning in May, once or twice a week, weather permitting. Individuals are encouraged to exercise year-round since it is vital in the fight against our breast cancer diagnosis.
Does your team paddle in honor of memory of someone? If so, tell us about him or her. The Dragon Divas sadly miss team members Edie, Rose and Rachel. Many of us carry their pictures with us in our life jackets as we paddle. Some evenings, we sit in silence on the lake during practice and remember our friends.
What keeps your team coming back to participate in the festival? The Superior festival profits and fund-raising are dedicated to breast cancer awareness and treatment. This fits our mission wonderfully. And on top of that, the festival is run so very well and we have a grand time.
Do you have a team ritual? After our Friday evening festival practice, we gather back at our motel for a Dragon Diva potluck, which always means great food and lots of laughter! We enjoy partying with each other!
Comments or anything else you would like to share: The mission of the Dragon Divas is to demonstrate that a full and active life is possible after the diagnosis of breast cancer. The organization provides an opportunity for members to connect with other breast cancer survivors in a supportive environment to enhance their physical, emotional and spiritual health. The Dragon Divas are dedicated to promoting the early detection of breast cancer and raising awareness in the community of the importance of physical fitness in fighting this disease. Through our message and action, the Dragon Divas honor the memory of those who have died from the disease and the blessings they have bestowed on our survivorship.
Sponsor: Barr Engineering Co.
Captains: Leah Gruhn and Aisha Beaty
How did you get your team name? Does it have special meaning? We are a formidable competitor and our name is derived from our firm’s founder, Doug Barr.
How many years have you participated in the festival? We have competed six times, including four first-place finishes in the Energy Division.
How does your team prepare for the event? We hold regular practices in the weeks leading to the festival.
Does your team paddle in honor of memory of someone? If so, tell us about him or her. All of us have been touched by cancer in some way and welcome the opportunity to raise money for an important cause and support others in our community who are affected by cancer.
What keeps your team coming back to participate in the festival? The Dragon Boat Festival is among the most popular of several Barr social outings that occur each year. For new employees, it’s a chance to get to know co-workers and the social fabric of the community. Longtime employees enjoy the chance to step away from their professional roles and interact with co-workers on a personal level. Though most of our paddlers work out of Barr’s Duluth office, employees from other Barr offices travel here to participate — either as paddlers or vocal spectators.
What does the festival mean to your team/business and/or the role you play in the community? We’re grateful for the support of the communities in which we live and work, and we recognize the importance of giving back. Throughout the year our employees participate in a range of worthwhile endeavors — from building houses for Habitat for Humanity to picking up trash for Adopt-A-Highway to collecting Toys for Tots. The Dragon Boat Festival, which supports the Essentia Foundation, is another way we can be a responsible corporate citizen.
Beyond serving our commitment to giving back, our paddlers enjoy the chance to interact with members of the community, as well as our clients, many of whom also support this good cause by entering a team.
Do you have a team ritual? We get together and stretch before racing to keep our bodies limber.
Sponsor: Key Lakes/Great Lakes Fleet
Captains: LeRoy Kolenda and Ralph Ray
Participants: John Thibodeau, Ralph Ray, Joe Campbell, Katie O’Brien, Andrea Beck, Mike Krebs, Kayla Rheingans, Gregg Ruhl, LeRoy Kolenda, Barb Lubas, Kate Ferguson, Willie Keyes-BBQ, James Farkas, Parnell Lutz, Bill Peterson, Chris Peterson, Casie Klatte, Chris Klatte, Reuben Clemmer, Jim Romich, Willie Keyes Jr., Michelle Whitaker, Steve Vujcevic, Mark Stilwel and Zack Smith.
How did you get your team name? Does it have special meaning? USS Ironsides was a wooden-hulled broadside ironclad build for the U.S. Navy during the American Civil War. Although she was struck many times by Confederate shells, gunfire never significantly damaged the ship or injured the crew.
How many years have you participated in the festival? Two
How does your team prepare for the event? Attend at least two practices and use the Anytime Fitness rowing machine.
What keeps your team coming back to participate in the festival? Last year was the first we attended the festival and everyone had a great time! It is a good way to bond with friends, family and co-workers. The event was really well organized, which made the day more enjoyable.
What does the festival mean to your team/business and/or the role you play in the community? It’s the primary group activity we do as a company.
Do you have a team ritual? For inspiration we will be playing the “Rocky” soundtrack song “Eye of the Tiger” for each practice session.
Halvor Lines Rolling Dragons and Halvor Logistics Services Rolling Dragons
Sponsor: Halvor Lines Inc.
Captains: Charmaine Holtz and Brady Peterson
Halvor Lines Rolling Dragons: Maddy Kitch (drummer), Chad Blaine, Donny Sazama, Charmaine Holtz, Lisa Goodfellow, Layla Lang, Laura Anderson, Adam Lang, Mark Anderson, Andy Zifko, Paul Diedrich, Keith Kitch, Aiden Monsrud, Courtney Van Horn, Katie Kirschbaum, Judy Salem, Carrie Wolden, Kevin Iwerks, Earl Braman, Darren Mattila and Greg Mattila
Halvor Logistics Services Rolling Dragons: Stacy Schneider (drummer), Amy VanOvermeiren, Ashley Kmecik, Anna Schlink, Laurie Killian, Harriet Braman, Polly Donovan-Bradley, Jordan Kitch, Laura Kitch, Jared Pehler, Tom Killian, Brady Peterson, Jeff Kmecik, Scott Sunde, Steve Potter, Cassidy VanPuymbrouck, Preston Jackson, Thomas Jackson, Rafael Nunez-Peralta, Brian Demenge and Dan Demenge.
How did you get your team name? Does it have special meaning? We asked Halvor Lines’ employees for suggested names and then chose from the entries.
How many years have you participated in the festival? This is our second year paddling. We have been transporting the dragon boats from Grand Portage to the festival for several years.
How does your team prepare for the event? We practice as well as talk it up in an effort to build enthusiasm amongst the paddlers.
What keeps your team coming back to participate in the festival? This is a great community as well as team-building event
What does the festival mean to your team/business and/or the role you play in the community? Halvor has always had strong ties to the Duluth/Superior community and will continue to be involved with fundraising and charitable events. We are extremely proud to be involved in an event that affects us all. We have a vision of being a part of the Dragon Boat Festival for many years to come. Paddles up!
Touch of Gray
Sponsor: Duluth Rotary Club 25
Captains: Lisa Pratt and Pete Weidman
Participants: Dave McLean, Suzanne Anderson, Tommy Anderson, Ann Beck, Ben Bradley, Dawn Cutler, Paul Cutler, Jena Evans, Shari Illig, Jireh Mabamba, Jeff Leusman, Terry Mattson, Skeeter Moore, Chris Pelofske, Jerry Pelofske, Lisa Pratt, Jennifer Pratt, Branden Robinson, Dave Salo, Bob Sherman, Barbara Sherman, Chris Swanson, Crystal Taylor, Pete Weidman, Steve Yorde, Mary Young and Tom Young.
How did you get your team name? Does it have special meaning? It was a random suggestion and it stuck. We do have young people on the team!
How many years have you participated in the festival? Every year!
How does your team prepare for the event? We had a dry-land practice (at a brewery) and one practice on the water with a post-practice strategy session (at a brewery). We have produced great results with this training regimen!
Does your team paddle in honor of memory of someone? If so, tell us about him or her. Bob Pratt, former Rotary Club 25 member and passionate Touch of Gray team member, passed away in 2011 from colon cancer. He is always in the back of our minds and his presence is still felt in our boat!
What keeps your team coming back to participate in the festival? We keep coming back to paddle because of our long-standing tradition of commitment to the festival, the excellent team camaraderie, and for the privilege of contributing to the greater good that this festival supports.
Do you have a team ritual? We paint toe nails.
RJS Dragon Wagon
Sponsor: Viant Crane
Captain: Lance Lindahl
How did you get your team name? It's just a play on words: Draggin' vs Dragon.
How many years have you participated in the festival? The RJS Construction Group has participated for about six years.
How does your team prepare for the event? Construction workers prepare every day! These guys have to be fit to perform the kind of work they do each day.
Does your team paddle in honor or memory of someone? If so, tell us about him or her. We just lost a very valuable employee to natural causes. Brian Stoltz was a very talented and hardworking "family" member of a construction crew. He will be missed and serve as our inspiration this year.
Do you have a funny Dragon Boat Festival story? We are responsible for the motorized (and loud) picnic table that graces the festival from time to time.
What keeps your team coming back to particpate in the festival? It's a great event for an even greater cause. It works to as a team builidng event for our group and it's just plain out-of-control fun!
What does the festival mean to your team/business and/or the role you play in the community? It's a great opportunity to be seen as much more than a construction firm. Our sponsor: Viant Crane, plays a huge part in the festival and is one of the sister companies under the Capstan organization along with the RJS Construction Group LLC.
Do you have a team ritual? We try to throw a wicked barbecue each year! So far we have accomplished that goal!