Quack attack – Duck racers take to the Truckee River
More than 100 locals, children and dogs came out to the Regional Park on Saturday to watch 5,000 yellow, pink and blue rubber duckies descend upon the Truckee River as part of the 8th Annual Duck Races.
The popular fund-raising event, sponsored by Truckee Sunrise Rotary Club, raises money to support a variety of community projects for youth, the economically disadvantaged and the elderly.
As they waited for the first heats of the races to begin, some lounged on the grass with hamburgers and polish sausages, while children played duck-theme games for prize bags in the far corner of the grass.
“This is a really nice community event,” said first-time duck racer Dave Green, a San Francisco resident and second-home owner in Truckee. “It’s a nice low-key community gathering and it’s always nice to see the kids having fun.”
People continued to shell out cash to sponsor racing ducks up until just minutes before the first group left the gate.
Crowds gathered along the riverbanks to watch as more than 5,000 ducks raced in six separate heats. Men and women clad in wetsuits, some in kayaks, waited to retrieve winning ducks with nets at the finish line.
When it was all over, Truckee residents took home the top three prizes this year: Jeremy Reichert won $4,000 for first place, while Jamie Brimer won $500 for second and Kurt Schleich took home $250 for third.
The six individual heat winners that each took home $50 included: Jan Lashbrook, Jody Poe, Bill Person, Joe Smith, Lyn Zanetti and Tom Watson.
In addition to the races, the event featured a sponsor duck “beauty contest,” in which local businesses, firms and individuals custom designed and decorated ducks.
“Sponsor ducks are judged on five categories – best of show, most creative, best craftsmanship, funniest and most representative of sponsor,” said Head Quacker John Hetz.
This year’s judges included: Steve Randall, Lynn Saunders and Josh Susman.
The winners were:
* Best in Show: Sierra Sun
* Most Creative: Truckee River Llama Ranch
* Best Craftsmanship: EventMasters
* Funniest Category: Robert Colpitts, DDS
* Most Representative of Sponsor: Truckee River Glass
The sponsor duck race on the Truckee River was won by East West Partners – Old Greenwood. Runners-up were the U.S. Forest Service and Kingvale Tubing and Sledding Center. The running of the unlimited class of sponsor ducks, which permits the use of power to propel the ducks down the Truckee River, was won by Bank of America.
On Monday, the Rotary Club announced that this year’s event had been it’s most successful ever, having raised more than $16,000.
“These annual Duck Races are the Truckee Sunrise Rotary Club’s most important fund-raising event,” said Club President Joanne Roubique. “Last year’s proceeds benefited community projects such as the Truckee Sunrise Rotary Angel Network, the third grade Dictionary Project and Project Graduation, provided scholarships and exchange student support and helped fun community organizations such as the Truckee Senior Meals Program, D.A.R.E. and A.Y.S.O soccer.”
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