BUNDABERG'S best will head south in the hope of clinching victory in the final Wide Bay Regional Regatta and gaining selection in the state squad.
The Bundy Dragons sit behind Hervey Bay in second spot after a disappointing loss to the competition leaders in the third regatta a fortnight ago.
The inaugural regatta features teams from Bundaberg, Seventeen Seventy, Cooloola and Hervey Bay and is the precursor to the upcoming State Championships.
Dragon boat racer Sheryl English said Bundaberg competitors had been putting in overtime on the Burnett River in the hope of reclaiming some glory in the final Wide Bay regatta.
“The guys have been going hard at it and I think they've made some headway,” English said.
“We race to win and whether we can win the overall competition or not, we want to be the first ones to cross the line on Sunday,” she said.
The traditional Chinese sport involves a sweep and 20 paddlers rowing in unison to an onboard drummer.
The Bundaberg Dragon Boat Club began two years ago and has grown to include 40 members.
English said a prime motivator for her team in early-morning training sessions had been an emerging rivalry between Bundaberg and their Fraser Coast counterparts.
“I think there's a bit of tension there and a bit of rivalry which makes for good competition,” she said.
“It would be a pretty good feeling to pip them in the last regatta.”
English hoped to showcase the strength of the obscure sport at the regatta.
“It's really taken off and people of all different persuasions, ages and fitness levels have come on board to give it a go.”
“There's a real camaraderie in the sport and it's an exciting, entertaining way to keep fit and get some exercise.”
A representative Wide Bay squad will be picked at the competition.
The State Dragon Boat Championships will be held in March next year in Kawana on the Sunshine Coast.