LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

Those paddling in the Big Blue Dragon Boat races got their final practice in Friday morning on the Black River near Copeland Park.

The event put on by Mayo Clinic Health system is more than just a chance to show off skills in a unique boat -- it's also held to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer patients.

One racer says thanks to all these practices, he's expecting some good competition on the water.

"Everybody that's gone out has gotten better, every team, you see a lot of excitement, a lot of people this year it's brand new, and people are going, 'Wow, why haven't we done this before?'" said Dean Otterson.

The parking lot by Copeland Park will be closed to cars for the event. Anyone looking to watch the races should park at Veteran's Freedom Park, the boat landing by Hardees or on nearby streets.