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Jan 1, 2012

Hello Goodbye.

It's officially a wrap! Good bye 2011. You were very kind to the Space Dragons Family. We'll never forget you and the memories you brought us. OC-2 testing! Hell Week! Our first ever championship at Big Long Beach. First time in the finals in San Francisco. The introduction of ONE BITE. We worked hard in 2011 and it showed.

Hopefully everyone has had a nice few months to rest, recuperate, and recharge-- because it's time to strap in and buckle up. 2012 is here and we're planning on going for another wild ride ladies and gentlemen. Get ready, it's a new decade!

Before we say good bye completely to 2011 though, we'd be remiss to not take one last look back at 2011. For one magical night each year we all get cleaned up, prettied up, dressed up, and remind one another what we look like outside of our paddling gear. Yup folks, it's Year End Party recap time!

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This year the party moved to downtown Long Beach and to the beautifully decorated Bliss 525. Tons of lights on the outside and even more lights and multiple Christmas trees inside set the festive mood for the night.

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Being as it was our 10th Anniversary year, this year's party committee went to great lengths to make sure we not only celebrated the successes of 2011 but to also acknowledge and give a tip of the hat to our roots as well. A family tree display was off to one side. On another was a display of all the Space Dragons jersey designs over the years. And off in the corner, a new tradition was born--the Space Dragons photo booth--ready to capture everyone looking at their (mostly PG-13) best.

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To start off the evening on a positive note, we had a few visitors send their greetings from afar. First off was Russell saying "ano ang bago" from the Philippines (with a Space Dragons jersey in the background of course). And then followed by a hilariously futile attempt at a video teleconference from THE BEST SISTER TEAM EVER! Ripple Effect coincidentally were also celebrating their 10th year anniversary at their own year end party. On the exact same night. At the exact same time. Too bad things were so raucous on both sides of the call that neither half could really hear the other… so we instead resorted to written signs and hand gestures. Whatevs, Space Ripple love needs no words to be expressed properly. Finally, to round out the early part of the evening, the year end video was played for all, celebrating some favorite moments of the past 10 years of Space Dragons history.

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Sorry Em, Youtube automatically selects a thumbnail. :P

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Next came dinner downstairs along with the awards presentations. To run a dragon boat team of 80+ individuals smoothly, it not only takes a small army of people working behind the scenes (the coaches, the captains, the board), but it also requires that individual paddlers step up and do whatever it takes to keep the machine well oiled and operating at peak. The Year End Party is an opportunity for the captains, the coaches, and the team to acknowledge and recognize the efforts of everyone whose love of their team compel them to pitch in above and beyond.

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People's Choice Award Winners
Best O Face - Galen and Sammi
Biggest Space Booker - James N
Most Inspirational - Devant
Most Spirited - Devant
MVP - Em
Rookie of the Year - Andy
Stinkiest Gear - AJ

Coaches Awards
Most Improved (Female) - Lesley
Most Improved (Male) - Andy
Golden Paddle - James N
Golden Paddle - Rod
Golden Paddle - Marina

Captains Awards + Tournament Trophies
Service Award - Denise
Tempe 250m 2nd Place - Brian
Tempe 1000m 2nd Place - Pearl
Baby LB 500m 2nd Place - James N
Baby LB 200m 1st Place - Sammi
Big LB 500m 1st Place - AJ
Big LB 200m 1st Place - Esmer
Big LB Open 3rd Place - Em
Big LB Women 2nd Place - Arlene
Big LB Masters 2nd Place - Caesar
Lake Gregory 100m 3rd Place - Robert
SF Visitor's Cup 3rd Place - T1

Special Thanks To
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The party planning committee (Kat W, Denise, Marina, Janet, Jackie, James) for slaving through all the details--booking the venue, working through the logistics, coordinating the raffle and auction items, setting up A/V, and all the other millions of little things that putting on a smooth event requires.

Bliss 525 and their staff for being accommodating, gracious hosts. Loved what you guys did with the holiday decorations!

Brian, Em, Devant, Victoria, and Pearl for being our emcees and awards presenters throughout the course of the evening.

Kmak for being the photographer extraordinaire once again. All the photos are courtesy of him.

Em, Ceez, Jim, and James for making the photo booth a reality. Definitely the start of something new for future parties.

Everyone who donated items for the auction and raffles. A big thank you to the Wells sisters, Lesley, Zina, Marina, James, Christine, Jill, Roger, Galen, Allen, Brian, Mayana, Devant, Deej, Denise.
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Our army of bakers and dessert makers for supplying our (edible and super yummy) centerpieces. Thank you Kat, Mary, Deej, Em, Christine, Makiko, Denise, Blanca, Robert, Marina, and Claire.

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Our award making committee. The trophies this year were amazing. (I personally want to try paddling with my new golden paddle. Thanks CJ!! --James) Big ups to Denise leading the effort with assistance from Brianne, Makiko, Jill, Curtis, CJ.

A hearty tip of the hat to the year end video committee-- James, Jim, Andy, and Brianne. This thing was a monster to create.

The swarm of volunteers who came early to help setup. That family tree display in particular was a bit of a PITA to setup!

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And finally, to some of the founding members of Space Dragons who made their way out to help celebrate this special anniversary with us. Without them and their early efforts, there would be no Space Dragons, so an immense amount of gratitude to Myles Otomo, Rick Ikemoto, Joe Kurihara, Pearl Fung, Jane Bettwy, and David Bettwy.

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Space <3 was in the air.

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Lots of Space Love.

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See? Lots of love going all around! (Though I'm not sure what Galen is doing)

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OK. Well maybe not that much love here.

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I don't think "O Face" meant what Sammi thought when she started campaigning for votes. >_<

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This really surprises no one, right? Nope, didn't think so.

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Life as Mr. July is very difficult. Poor, poor Scottie.

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Andy looking quite smug that he just won himself a new GF in the raffle. Zina looks less thrilled.

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NO ESMER. You can NOT take the ornaments home to your own tree.

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Our newest generation of lady paddlers. They look quite proud of themselves, huh? Not sure if swagger or sugar high.

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New bucket like carrying device for Kmak.

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Forced one bite!

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Everyone watching the year end video. Except for two photo hogs who'd rather pose for a picture. :|

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One last image of Space Dragons Love to end the year on. Always remember this image. It represents everything that Space stands for. ;)

2011 was an adventure we won't forget anytime soon. I for one can't wait to see what 2012 brings, and I'm quite sure that I don't stand alone in that regard.

Nothing but love, Space Fam.