The eighth annual Montana Dragon Boat Festival takes place this weekend in Bigfork Bay.
The presdient of the local team Dragon Flies, Alida Tinch, says teams come from across the western US and Canada to take part in the event. While participation numbers are down this year, Tinch says over 20 teams will compete in dragon boat sprints and longer races.
Traditionally, dragon boat teams are made up of 22 people including a drummer who keeps the rowers synchronized and a steerer who keeps the boat on track.
Tinch says modern doctors have found the ancient Chinese sport actually has great health benefits for cancer survivors.
"Dr. Don McKenzie, he was here last summer....determined that upper body exercise is good for lymphedema , contrary to what they had thought for years past," Tinch explained. "So he has gone on a worldwide campaign to spread Dragon Boating to cancer survivors. And exercise being wellness."
Tinch says her favorite part of the event is getting to spend time with her friends and meeting other participants from around the world. The races at Bigfork Bay are open and free to the public.
to learn more about the event.