Onlookers ducked in excitement as Dan Brattain's helicopter swooped over the Kite Field at the Port of Brookings Harbor Saturday, dumping thousands of little rubber kitties and puppies onto a target painted on the grass below.
Whomever's critter bounced closest to the center would win. There would be only one - Meg Claflin of Brookings - to walk away with the $5,000 cash prize. And there were five more swipes to drop 3,000 cats and dogs as part of the Rotary Club's inaugural Raining Cats and Dogs fundraiser.
"Since 2008, the Ducky Derby has raised more than $100,000 for community projects," said Rotary Club President Jan Ramelli. "Because sponsors help us with the operating cost of the race, every adoption dollar goes to a community project."
The event raised $14,000 this year, up about $4,000 from last year's last Ducky Derby that the cats and dogs drop replaced. The money will go to various Rotary Club projects, including third grade swimming lessons, the food pantry at the high school and the distribution of dictionaries.
After the fly-bys, cat and dog adopters stood behind the yellow tape, anxiously awaiting the outcome. Three officials, one armed with an oversized caliper, measured - again and again - the location of each cat and dog in the first target circle.
Other winners included Velma Wadsworth, Mark Jordan, Lana Walker, Jeanna Taylor, Patricia Bergeron, Matt Mere, Tony Martin, Stacy Kreger, Ann Moore, Dana Hoover, Marty Glazebrook, Sally Laasch, Michael Hansen, Irene Grassi, Cheryl Bontrager, Beth Liles, Delores Young, Matt Mjelde, Nancy Vanderlinden, Vicki Munyon, Rose Percival, Dee Dee Mrozinski, Rich Thibault, Janet Pretti, Jimmy McMillian, Keith Kolimaga, Donna Ostrowski, Luck Films and Tiffanie Hodge.