By: Rita DuChateau
Every duck counts. Every duck races. Every duck paddles for a participating organization. Those are a few of the tenets of the Estes Park Rotary Duck Race Festival that guided nearly 7,000 rubber ducks on their way to the finish line on Saturday, May 4. Could you hear them quacking their approval of the great weather, huge crowds of spectators and great prizes?
“It was a perfect day in our beautiful mountain town to have a Rotary Duck Race Festival and to see the happiness on everyone’s faces while they joined in the fun, ” said ‘Big Duck’ Kathy Groesbeck Sunday in between trips to return tents, large inflatable ducks and other supplies to storage so she could reclaim her garage. “We are so fortunate to live in such a caring, giving community that realizes how important it is to keep the annual tradition of this extraordinary event going into the future. ”
• Number of duck adoptions: 6,773
• Amount to be distributed to 67 Participating Organizations: approximately $128,700 ($19 of every $20 Duck Adoption)
• Time from start to finish line for Duck #1: 1 hour, 41 minutes
• Prizes donated by merchants: 278
• Top prize winners:
* Christina Ciancio-Schor -$5,000 Grand Prize
* Jacquelyn Hertel - Pine Lodge at Glacier National Park plus $1,000 for travel
* Mike Gay - Old Faithful Cabin at Yellowstone National Park plus $1,000 for travel
* Joanie Crockett - Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite National Park plus $1,000 for travel
Christina Ciancio-Schor, winner of the Grand Prize, hails from Castle Rock. On Saturday afternoon, she sat with her family at The Wheel, amazed and happy following the posting of her name on the Prize Board. Groesbeck congratulated her on her big win.
“That was tons of fun!” Ciancio-Schor said after the race. “We came into town Friday evening and noticed signs posted around town. We thought it would be fun to check it out. Lo and behold, we won! We had a fabulous time, and luck followed us all day. We will return to Estes often to contribute to our favorite mountain town. ”
The high level of Duck Adoptions are an indication of just how hard the 67 Participating Organizations worked this year. The top 10 organizations in sales are, in order of sales:
1. Estes Park High School Choirs
2. Estes Park Rotary Foundation
3. Healing Waters Foundation
4. Knights of Columbus
5. Ballet Renaissance
6. Pet Association of Estes Park
7. Glen Haven Area Volunteer Fire Department
8. Estes Park Schools Bands
9. Estes Valley Library Friends and Foundation
10. Harmony Foundation
Groesbeck was impressed with the number of volunteers who kept everyone safe and happy on Saturday. She estimated that 250 volunteers turned out to help. These included current and former members of all three Rotary clubs in Estes Park, family members and people who just like to help. Additionally, Duck Security “Sheriff” Gene Oja was pleased with the river workers’ turnout.
“Security had a great turnout of volunteers, ” Oja noted. “60 folks signed up and as always when the weather is good, there are folks helping along the way. Thank you to everyone whom nudged volunteers my way. ”
Now, the little yellow rubber ducks are drying out in their secret location, resting up for their next adventure, the 2020 Estes Park Rotary Duck Race Festival.
“The Rotary Club of Estes Park is proud to sponsor and host the Rotary Duck Race Festival as one of its premier community service projects, ” Groesbeck said.