City of Regina employee part of original team to compete in Regina Dragon Boat Festival in 1992
He’s been working at it for 25 years: various positions at the City of Regina and various positions on its dragon boat team, the Municipaddlers.
“We’re in it for fun and camaraderie,” says Chris Greyeyes, a City Customer Service Representative II and the only original member of the first- ever City of Regina Municipaddlers team formed in 1991. Chris and the Municipaddlers celebrate that two-decade anniversary with the Regina Dragon Boat Festival, which dipped its inaugural paddles in Wascana Lake 25 years ago this September.
In fact, the Municipaddlers is no the only original team to compete in the Festival.
And both Chris and Festival committee members have been encouraging Reginans and community groups to join this fun, international paddling sport, Dragon Boat racing. “It’s like getting 22 people together to come out and play in a great two-day race event. You’re looking at three minutes of exerting yourself. So that’s 20 minutes of exertion, hours apart, and it’s a lot of fun,” says Chris, adding that it’s also a great way for new members of a corporation or a community to socialize and meet others.
“Anybody can do it. We’re people who want to have a good time. People who get together and thrash away at the water. Sometimes it’s hard work, sometimes it’s not, and sometimes it’s harder work,” he says.
There was a time they weren’t the Municipaddlers. Before the first Dragon Boat competition, this civic sporting group went by the City of Regina Dragon Boat Team. Luckily, through a name competition in the City of Regina’s internal newsletter, CityLife, Municipaddlers was born.
The Municipaddlers have also had their share of wins and misses, twice taking home first place in the Regina Dragon Boat Festival, and getting other placements in various dragon boat competitions in Winnipeg, and Brandon, Manitoba.
Chris says that working in unison is the real key to dragon boat racing. “It’s all about coordination, technique, strength and following the person in front of you in the boat. It’s something you can learn,” he adds, chuckling, “and having a sense of humor is important, too, because the person in front of you is not always doing what they’re supposed to be doing. ”
The Municipaddlers have always been a co-ed team. Today, there’s a dedicated core group of its 22 members formed of current and past City employees who practice once a week for about 13 weeks until the Festival races during the September long weekend. He says his team exceeds the three practices sanctioned by the Festival. And that first practice can be a doozy. “It’s hard. Everyone gets wet. It’s cold. You pull a muscle, get hypothermia … little things like that.”
Another camaraderie important to Chris is with competing teams at the Festival. They come to our festival. We go to theirs. It’s a fun rivalry and then we socialize,” says Chris of teams from Winnipeg, Grenfeld and other local teams.
Chris looks forward to the return of the Regina Dragon Boat Festival to the north side of Wascana Lake, directly in front of the Legislature on Labor Day weekend, September 2-3, 2016.
And while the Municipaddlers have never tipped over into the drink, there’s been a few close calls: they took in water during a practice when Chris said ‘paddles up’ and everybody paddled to the right; they were almost penalized for delaying a race when caught in weeds (before ‘the Big Dig’); and had a few near collisions. They’ve paddled in warm and miserably cold weather, and in sleet and rain. “What do you expect? This is Regina in September. Anything can happen and sometimes that’s a good thing.”