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Duck Race This Saturday, May 3rd

Duck-Race-LogoBy: Rita DuChateau

On the first Saturday in May for the last 25 years, the Estes Park Duck Race has drawn residents and visitors to riverbanks and riverside entertainment. But, this year is different from the preceding 25 race years, according to Thor “Big Duck” Homme, event chairman.

“This year is unique because of the flooding and how it has affected our economy,” he said.

The race has generated over $2 million for local charities and groups in the past 25 years. Event planners for the 2014 race aren’t predicting the totals because the September flood has made predictions impossible. Instead, the Duck Race Committee has worked hard to generate major and associate sponsors, reached out to merchants for prizes, and hopes to celebrate a successful fundraiser.

But, the 26th annual Estes Park Rotary Duck Race almost didn’t happen.

“This year’s race is also unique because to begin with, we were not sure under the circumstances that we would even have a race. Our first scheduled meeting was Sept. 12, 2013, if that tells you anything,” Homme said. “Of course that meeting was cancelled.”

When soggy duck race committee members did convene in October, the first question they had to answer was whether the 2014 race could be financed. Sponsorships normally finance between 70 to 80% of the race, and merchants generously furnish 500-600 prizes. These critical components of the race allow the sales of adoption forms to directly benefit over 60 charities, and draw attendees to the finish line.

Despite uncertainties, the committee decided in October, just weeks after the flood, that the 2014 Duck Race was needed.

“We felt the organizations would need it more than ever,” Homme explained.

The response from sponsors and merchants has been incredible. The committee garnered more sponsors than in any previous year, and the prizes donated by merchants are on pace to exceed past numbers as well.

“Estes Park is a surprising and amazing community. Our Rotary Club is proud to be a part of it and to have made the decision to host the 2014 race in a unique year” Homme said.

Race Starting line: Nicky’s Steakhouse, 1350 Fall River Road

Entertainment from 11:00 a.m.

Decorated sponsor ducks on display

Duck adoptions for purchase until noon

Duck drop: 1:00 p.m. (That’s thousands of yellow rubber ducks hitting the Fall River)

Finish line: Riverside Plaza, near the Wheel Bar

Duck adoptions for purchase until 11:00 a.m. at Macdonald Book Shop (152 E. Elkhorn) and the Estes Park Visitors Center (500 Big Thompson Avenue)

Prize boards: outside the Wheel Bar (132 E. Elkhorn)

Activities for all ages from noon to 4:00 in Riverside Plaza.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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