The ducks have their day

A blustering, overcast evening didn’t deter hundreds of people from lining Nippon Paper Industries’ canal for the 19th annual Olympic Peninsula Duck Derby May 18.

The derby was co-sponsored this year by the Olympic Medical Center Foundation and the Sequim Rotary Club. The ducks sold for $5 each or six ducks for $25. The organizations were able to sell 36,660 ducks, an all-time record, according to Bruce Skinner, OMC Foundation’s executive director. Skinner said the foundation would not decide what hospital projects to donate to until the end of 2008 but the money would be spread out among several departments and largely would fund equipment.

According to Rotary vice president Dave Collins, the club will donate its share of the money generated by the derby to educational pursuits. The majority of the money will go to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula. The club also will fund several scholarships for Sequim graduating seniors and purchase hardcover dictionaries for Sequim fourth-graders.

The derby included two races — the Very Important Duck (VID) race, followed by the main derby. The VID race was reserved for businesses or individuals who donated $125, $250 or $500. Despite the wind, the VID ducks didn’t do much swimming and eventually Clallam County Fire District 2 turned the hose on the ducks, assisting them to the finish line. Prizes to the top three winners were $1,000, $500 or $250 cash. The winners this year were Am Den Construction, Dr. and Mrs. Michael Epler and Donna Schwartz.

For the main race, a dump truck load of rubber duckies was launched into the canal, making it a literal sea of yellow. Although there were prizes awarded to the first 50 ducks to make it to the finish line, the coveted first-place prize this year was a brand new 2008 Toyota Tundra truck sponsored by Wilder Toyota. Second- and third-place winners took home cash prizes provided by 7 Cedars Casino. This year’s top three winners were Werner Beier, Daly Richardson and Roger Helgeson.
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