Race History

1989 was the first year of the Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boat Race. In that year, there were 31 teams registered. In 1991 the event had grown to 60 teams competing. By 2004 the event grew to 97 teams. Currently there are approximately 55 to 70 teams competing annually. PKSCA owns eight colorful traditional Kaohsiung River Boats that are very decorative. In 2013 PKSCA replaced the original fleet of boats with new boats which seat 20 paddlers, 4 more than the original boats. Many of the original and new boats were donated by the city of Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

The Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boat Race is unique in that local teams have a 10-week practice season in preparation for the June race weekend. The 10-week practice season has contributed greatly to the growth of this sport in the Pacific Northwest. This race is also unique in that each team's flag catcher is required to pull the flag from a buoy in that team's lane which signals that the team has finished the race.

Since the early races paddling sports in Portland have expanded significantly. Many participants in this race now paddle year-round and there are other organizations and clubs supporting the sport plus there are now many other race events in the region.