Pyro Paddlers Dragon Boat Team

The Pyro Paddlers is a dragon boat team open to all (regardless of racial/ethnic/religious identity) current UIC students, faculty, staff and alumni. Though paddling experience is not required, being in good physical shape helps with the endurance needed to paddle in coordinated fashion with other team members for the duration of a race. (Here, coordination is more important than strength).

We have been competing in two local races each summer and both are scheduled in June for 2017: the Festival of the Fox in St. Charles (June 10th) and the Chicago Dragon Boat Race for Literacy in Chinatown (June 24th).

There will be an informational session (Wednesday, April 19th at 4 p.m., Addams Hall, Room 207) for new and veteran paddlers to meet each other and get introduced to the sport and team. Two open practices are scheduled: one on Saturday, May 13th at 10 a.m. and another Sunday, May 21st, at 10 a.m. Captain Cynthia Tom-Klebba, will select from the paddlers who attend at least one open practice (paddlers are welcome to attend both) for our race rosters. An additional practice(s) is held before each race which is required of racing paddlers.

If you are interested in paddling for the 2017 season, please fill out our online paddler interest form by Monday, March 27th for early consideration. The call for paddlers will remain open until Sunday, May 21st.

If you would like to stay in touch with team news you may subscribe to our listserv.

Leadership of the team consists of captains who are elected each spring by racing paddlers from the previous year. Financial support for the team comes from UIC’s Asian American Resource and Cultural Center and the Office of Public and Government Affairs.


Here’s a video introducing you to the sport and the team:

Here’s an in-boat view from the 2016 Chicago Chinatown Dragon Boat Race for Literacy:

Competition History:

Chicago Dragon Boat Race for Literacy

2008 – 17th out of 27 teams

2009 – 18th out of 31 teams

2010 – cancelled due to flooding

2011 – cancelled due to flooding

2012 – 7th out of 26 teams

2013 – 10th out of 26 teams

2014 – 7th out of 30 teams

2015 – 6th out of 30 teams

2016 – 7th out of 30 teams

City of St. Charles/Pride of the Fox Riverfest

2011 – Saturday Competition – 1st of 8 teams in Lizard Division, 5th out of 13 overall

2012 – Saturday Competition – 4th of 4 teams in Komodo Division, 4th out of 10 overall

2013 – Saturday Competition – 7th of 8 teams in Komodo Division, 7th out of 14 overall

2014 – Saturday Competition – 5th of 8 teams in Lizard Division, 9th out of 12 overall

2015 – Saturday Competition – 3rd out of 6 teams in Lizard Division, 11th out 14 overall

2016 – Saturday Competition – 1st out of 8 teams in Lizard Division, 9th out of 16 overall