By Charles Kocher

Pilot staff writer

At least 7,500 rubber duckies are ready for the waters of the Chetco River in Sunday's Wild Rivers Ducky Derby at Loeb State Park.

The first ducky through the finish line will win an $1,800 gasoline card for his adoptive sponsor. There are dozens of other prizes for the next ducks in the winning row.

The Rotary Club of Brookings-Harbor has organized the duck race, along with a public party of family events along the river bar to mark the day.

Public events start at 11 a.m., a special andquot;very important duckandquot; race for sponsors and major donors is at 1 p.m., and the derby ducks will go into the river at 2 p.m.

The start and finish lines for both races are at Loeb Park, located eight miles up North Bank Chetco River Road.

Parking for the race will be on the gravel bar at the park. Dozens of volunteers have signed up to help the Rotary Club stage the events and the derby itself.

Ducky sales were nearing completion Friday. Any orphans will be available today at the Port of Brookings-Harbor Brookings Farmers Market or Ray's Food Place, or Sunday at the race site.

All the ducks have been checked for water and leaks, and washed according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife recommendations. Capture booms will keep the duckies from traveling downstream.

All the sales partners and sponsors have been invited to be at Loeb Park Sunday with public displays, games, music and special events. Several food booths will be on hand.

Included in the fun will be a petting zoo, watermelon seed spitting contest, squirt gun target contest, pinatas, a rock skipping contest, Frisbee toss, duck walk, face painting and rock painting.

The andquot;quacklessandquot; auction for the Curry Coastal Pilot's flock of a dozen andquot;Art Duckosandquot; will be completed. andquot;Duckeratedandquot; by volunteer artists, some of the individual bids for the oversize ducks are up over $100.

More than a dozen non-profit groups have been selling ducky adoptions, earning up to half the proceeds on each adoption. As of Friday morning, the leading sales teams included the Brookings-Harbor High cheerleaders, the Lions Club, Good Samaritan Curry Village, and the Brookings-Harbor Red Shirts.

Top sponsors for the Wild Rivers Ducky Derby are Barron's Home Furnishings and Curry General Hospital Health Network. Media sponsors are the Curry Coastal Pilot, KURY radio, and Charter Communications.

Other sponsors include Dr. Doug Walker/Eye Center of Brookings, Daryn Farmer/State Farm Insurance, Bella Italia Ristorante, Bernie Bishop Mazda, Good Samaritan Curry Village, Edward Jones/Kevin Moerke, Gold Beach Lumber, Ragz n' Bagz Boutique, Town and Country Animal Clinic, Ray's Food Place, Chetco Pharmacy andamp; Gifts, In-Motion Graphics and Stadleman Electric.

After the gasoline card, purchased by the Rotary Club, other prizes include a $1,200 diamond bracelet from Har-Brook Jewelers; a $1,000 gift certificate from Barron's; a $500 gift certificates from Ragz n' Bagz, That Special Touch, Kimball Creek Bend Guide Service, Gold Beach Lumber and Bernie Bishop Mazda; and a $450 trip with Jerry's Rogue River Jet Boat Trips.