Hundreds, that’s right, over 400 prizes valued from $20 to $2,000 will be awarded to lucky Virtual Duck Race viewers beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19. The Estes Park Rotary Duck Race, usually held the first Saturday of May, first was postponed several months, and then transformed from an in-person event to a live-streamed virtual race. One aspect of the race has not changed due to the global pandemic: prizes!
Thanks to an overwhelming response to a campaign to solicit donations to fund prizes so that local businesses affected by the economic downturn could get a year off, the number of prizes has now reached 411, with more to come, according to 2020 ‘Big Duck’ Karen Thompson. Local business owners who supported the Duck Race by donating prizes in 2017, 2018 and 2019 were given the opportunity to skip donating this year, and instead have the Duck Race Committee provide Duck Buck gift certificates to their businesses. Many of the merchants accepted the offer, while others said they preferred to donate to the prize effort. More than 150 Estes Park businesses are part of the Merchant Prize program this year, according to Sandy Lasson, Duck Race Committee member.
“I can’t thank our loyal supporting merchants enough for their past and current generosity,” Thompson said. “I also would like to thank the many Rotarians and other community members who stepped up to underwrite the Duck Buck gift certificates so some of our business owners could have a much-needed break.”
Prizes include fine dining, fast food, home decor, souvenirs, beauty services, t-shirts, excursions, overnight lodging, adventure activities, taffy, fudge, caramel corn and much more. Value of certificates begins at $20 and rises to $550. The total of merchant prizes, as of Sept. 6, is close to $14,000.
The Saturday, Sept. 19 Virtual Duck Race will be streamed on The Rocky Mountain Channel, with the Pre-Flight Show beginning at 11 a.m. The event will go live at approximately 12:40 p.m., and ducks can be adopted until 1 p.m. The live Tail Spin drawing of winners begins shortly thereafter in the Rocky Mountain Channel studio and promises to be colorful and fun, Thompson said. Viewers won’t want to miss the Pre-Flight Show, which will include footage of some early Duck Races not previously released to the public.
“This is The Rotary Club of Estes Park’s largest fundraising and ‘fun-raising' event,” Thompson said. “We hope everyone knows they can adopt a duck or a Quack Pack until 1 p.m. on Race Day by going to
The 2020 event will feature two major cash prizes and three getaway packages with accommodations donated by Delaware North Parks and Resorts.
• Grand Prize $2,000 cash
• Second Prize $1,000 cash
• Three-night stay for two in a suite at The Pine Lodge on Whitefish River, Whitefish, Montana, located near Glacier National Park. The package includes access to all amenities: continental breakfast, stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, bicycles and a guided trip to Glacier National Park.
• Three-night stay for two at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, Fish Camp, California, a resort near Yosemite National Park. Tenaya Lodge is an all-season resort with lodge and cottage rooms, recreational activities, a spa, pools and dining venues. The package includes breakfast and an all-day tour of Yosemite for two.
• Three-night stay for two at Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone, West Yellowstone, Montana. The trip includes an all-day guided snow coach tour to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone or Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park; park fees and box lunches; dinner at the Branch Restaurant; and tickets to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center and IMAX Theater in West Yellowstone.
“These great trip prizes have expiration dates well into 2022, so winners can plan a trip when they feel most comfortable traveling,” Thompson said. “We know these prizes have been very popular with winners in the past few years and we’re excited to be offering them again.”
The reason for the race? To help 67 Estes Valley groups and charities. The complete list of Participating Organizations is posted on epduckrace.org.
“The generosity of major and associate sponsors makes the race possible,” said Scott Thompson, who led the sponsorship effort.
A major sponsor contributes $500 or more in cash or services to support race prizes. An associate sponsor kicks in $100 in cash or services.
In the past 30 years, the Estes Park Duck Race has returned almost $3 million to the Estes Valley. While this year’s virtual race will be a departure from the format of previous races, the hundreds of prizes available to Duck Adopters should be an important bridge between past and future races.
To view the Estes Park Rotary Duck Race on Sept. 19, download the Rocky Mountain Channel’s free app from the App Store or Google Play. All broadcast links will be available at
epduckrace.org. Can’t join the fun? No worries - all winners will be notified by email. The complete list of prize winners will be posted on the Duck Race website.