Once 10,000 rubber duckies were dumped into the Chetco River Sunday during the second annual Wild Rivers Ducky Derby at Loeb State Park, there was nothing to stop them from reaching their destination – the finish line.
Before the race, containment booms were placed in the river to keep the duckies from swimming into the still pools. But, in the event the race came to a standstill, Brookings Fire and Rescue had a truck on standby to spray the duckies and get them moving again.
The fire department’s services weren’t needed. The duckies continued to swim downstream until they all gathered at a diving rock. From there, one by one, the duckies headed for the finish line.The first of the 2,895 adopted duckies to cross the finish line gave one lucky winner free groceries for a year at Ray’s Food Place. That ducky was purchased by Janet Pretti of Port Orford, who is the new Curry County dean at Southwestern Oregon Community College.
Pretti’s ducky adoption happened at the last minute. The ducky was sold at a Surfside Bruins adoption booth, ironically, outside Ray’s Food Place on Saturday. Pretti asked former dean Peggy Goergen to adopt a ducky for her, but Goergen said she forgot. So Goergen called from out of town and her granddaughter, Hannah, completed the transaction to adopt the ducky for Pretti.
Meanwhile, Wild River Pizza was helping the girls’ Little League softball team by matching the purchases. It turned out the ducky contributed by the pizza business was the winner, Goergen said.
Surfside Bruins was fifth among the top five sales partners, selling 160 ducky adoptions.
The second-place winner of a diamond pendant was Chris Parce of Brookings. After the race, she got her feet wet to help gather the remaining duckies before she realized she had won a prize, said Goergen, who also was helping retrieve duckies.
Other prize winners include:
•Rick Foerzsett of Corvallis, a gym membership;
•Richard Weir of Crescent City, Barron’s Furniture;
•Deanna Marrington of Brookings, a bouquet a month;
•Chuck James of Central Point, a Rogue River jet boat trip;
•Joan Nichols of Harbor; Barron’s Furniture;
•Sherrie Dufour of Gold Beach; a Gold Beach Lumber gift certificate.
Community groups raised funds by adopting duckies. The top five sales partners were:
•South Coast Humane Society, 760 adoptions;
•Marine Corps League, 275 adoptions;
•Brookings-Harbor High School cheerleaders, 199 adoptions;
•Habitat for Humanity, 174 adoptions;
In addition to the race, groups had booths on the river bar offering games, food and refreshments.
The fundraiser event was sponsored by Rotary Club of Brookings. Organizers felt the activity was a success.
“The two main goals of the Wild Rivers Ducky Derby were met,” said Dr. Doug Walker, event organizer. “The first goal was to provide an opportunity to raise funds for community projects for the Rotary Club of Brookings-Harbor and for our community's nonprofit groups. The second goal was to provide an opportunity to promote the good works of our various community groups.”
Walker added that “sponsors were very generous and the wonderful work of our volunteers, both Rotarians and others, made this event a success.
The ducky derby was the culmination of hundreds of hours of work by groups in the community, Walker said.