Who We Are
The Texas Dragon Boat Association is a 501(c)(3) Texas non-profit corporation.
“To promote the tradition of dragon boating, increase awareness of Asian and Asian-American culture, and enhance cross-cultural understanding.”
The Texas Dragon Boat Association has fulfilled its mission over the years by hosting dragon boating festivals during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, featuring cultural performances, food, and artisans. Due to the popularity of this event in May in downtown Houston, we added a second event in October. Initially that event (the Gulf Coast International Dragon Boat Regatta) was held in Clear Lake, but it was moved in 2008 to Sugar Land, TX.
The Houston Chinese American Lions Club held the first Houston Dragon Boat Festival in October 2001 with eight teams competing and the second Houston Dragon Boat Festival in May 2002 with twelve teams. In 2003, the Texas Dragon Boat Association incorporated as a Texas non-profit to promote the tradition of dragon boating, increase awareness of Asian and Asian-American culture, and enhance cross-cultural understanding. The two co-founders, Eugene Lee and Caroline Long, became Chairman of the Board and President/Executive Director, respectively.
Houston Dragon Boat Festival 2003 welcomed an estimated three thousand Houstonians, representing a myriad of cultural backgrounds, including twenty different Asian countries. The event featured eighteen teams, ten cultural performances, celebrity emcees from the major television stations, food vendors, and participation by the Houston Astros, Houston Rockets, and Houston Texans. Each year since then we have had a successful Festival in May on the historical Buffalo Bayou. Our attendance has increased to over 5000 people and for our 10th annual May 2010 Festival we had 30 teams participate.
Due to the success of dragon boat racing in Houston, we added a second event in 2004 – the Gulf Coast International Dragon Boat Regatta held in October in the Clear Lake area. The inaugural Regatta featured 41 teams competing over two days. Speakers included Honorary Co- Chairs Sylvia R. Garcia, County Commissioner Precinct Two, and astronaut Dr. Edward Lu; Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Texas Gregory Buchai; Mayor of Houston Bill White; Mayor of Pasadena John Manlove; State Representative Martha Wong; and Dr. Thomas Buchholz of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Teams arrived from as far away as Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Ukraine.
In 2005 we were awarded the honor of hosting the U.S. Central Region Championships in conjunction with our 2nd annual Gulf Coast International Dragon Boat Regatta presented by Wal-Mart. Many competitive teams from Canada, the Midwest, and the West Coast arrived to win our event and represent the United States in the World International Dragon Boat Championships to be held in Toronto in summer 2006. Over 50 teams were able to compete including divisions for breast cancer survivors, youth teams, and municipalities. Speakers included Honorary Co-Chairs Sylvia R. Garcia, County Commissioner Precinct Two, and Jim Reinhartsen, President, Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership; Tiffani Mendivil of Wal-Mart; Hua Jinzhou, Consul General, People’s Republic of China; State Representative Martha Wong; Mary Connelly of Canadians Abreast; and Dr. Tse-Kuan Yu of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
The Texas Dragon Boat Association possesses a fleet of eight boats, and plans are underway to build two boathouses (one in the East End on Buffalo Bayou and one in Sugar Land, Fort Bend County). Funds raised from our events help to develop these boathouses for public use. The Houston boathouse will be the first-ever boathouse along the downtown Bayou for non-motor boat craft, as well as serve as a home base for dragon boating in the Southern United States. The boathouses will facilitate a year-round youth education program, breast cancer survivor program, and corporate/community teambuilding program.
Houston, Texas now has several year round teams, from leisure teams all the way to professional traveling teams. If you are interested in finding a team that works for you, please check out the TDBA Year Round Teams in this area. We are now accepting team entries forms and event sponsors for the 2018 Dragon Boat Season Festival and Regatta. Please download our sponsorship proposals or contact our Executive Director, David Mandell, at firstname.lastname@example.org.