WJTV News Channel 12 - Hundreds Compete in Madison Co. Dragon Boat Regatta

Hundreds Compete in Madison Co. Dragon Boat Regatta

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ROSS BARNETT RESERVOIR -

Dozens of teams take to the water on Saturday morning for 2013's Dragon Boat Regatta in Ridgeland.

But the intense athletic event at the Ross Barnet Reservoir comes just days after a national publication slams the metro for being lazy.

This week "Men's Health Magazine" ranked Jackson, MS to be the least active city in it's list of 100.

Editors took into account how much people exercised, how many households watch more than 15 hours of television a week, and the rate of death from deep vein thrombosis - a condition that results from prolonged sitting.

Some residents are not taking the news sitting down - unless they're in a Dragon Boat that is.

"They try to promote wellness at Southern Farm Bureau," Corey May, and underwriter at the insurance company, said.

"They host a lot of 5ks and let people race. And you don't necessarily have to be super strong [to go on the dragon boat]. It's more like using your core instead of your arms to row," May said.

"They had a practice round earlier this week - had coaches go out and teach us some form and technique and we're ready to go," Hugh Warren, Vice President of Private Banking at Jackson's Trustmark Bank, said.

Last year's champions, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, is still practicing only minutes before their heat.

"At the end of the day it's about competing. and that's what we're trying to do: compete," Sylvester Houston, team captain, said.

But after Jackson was named the loser when it comes to laziness, other city officials are pushing back.

Mayor Harvey Johnson recently explained a new partnership with national non-profit "Kaboom" - making the city eligible for about $30,000 in grants to promote outdoor activities for kids.

"I think about being a playful city. I mean, you can believe the magazine but I prefer to believe in Kaboom U.S.A. than this other magazine that obviously has the wrong information," Mayor Johnson said.

Houston agrees.

"I didn't write the article in Men's [Health] Magazine. But take your camera and just glance around this tent and some of these other tents and I don't think Mississippi's doing too bad in that physical fitness category," Houston said.

Many of the folks at the event, however, represent people who are better off economically.

Compare their careers with opportunities offered in low income jobs and the assessment from Men's Health Magazine could be put in perspective.

But for people who train regularly the blanket statement feels like a slap in the face.

"I see all these people come out and run for all these charities and it seems kind of hard to believe. And even if you're out here rowing and even though it doesn't take strong muscles it still takes a sort of physicality. It blows my mind that they say that Jackson is the laziest city," May said.

That event was coordinated by the Madison County Chamber of Commerce.

This is the fifth year the regatta has been held.

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