Labor Day events draw thousands to Vail |

Labor Day events draw thousands to Vail

Around 13,000 ducks will race as part of the 19th annual Duck Race sponsored by the Vail Rotarty Club, Sunday, in Vail. One lucky winner will be one million dollars richer.
Chris Dillmann | |


Here's the names attached to this year's winning ducks. Do you see your name in there? Contact the Vail Rotary at 970-470-3234 or (970) 926-6800.

1 Kitty George, Edwards, CO
2 Hank Witek
3 Millie Grosselli, Denver, CO
4 Rebecca Wampler Mineola, TX
5 Marian & Mike Boyd, Vail, CO
6 Heather Dirvonas, Edwards, CO
7 Douglas Tippin, Highlands Ranch CO
8 Kent Petrie Avon, CO
9 Lisa Burton Gypsum, CO
10 Nancy Bigsby Vail, CO
11 Marc Mingel Hollywood, FL
12 Crystal Lewellen Thornton, CO
13 Otto Talley Eagle, CO
14 Lindsay Manning Centennial CO
15 Pamela Chapman Eagle, CO
16 Steve Henry
17 Joel Tucker Wolcott, CO
18 Patricia Lynch Edwards, CO
19 Thomas Eubanks Eagle, CO
20 Erica Naov Avon, CO
21 Christine Lindquist Ellisville, MO
22 Rachel Varon
23 Holly Gauntt
24 Deb & Roy Sante Wolcott, CO
25 Mike Wodlinger Edwards CO
26 Himmet Solak Avon, CO
27 Sheryl Gussett Bellaire, TX
28 Katay Pulm Horse Sound, FL
29 Wendi Engebretsen
30 John Dobbs Memphis, TN
31 Julie Jones Edwards, CO
32 Klesa McCoy Avon, CO
33 Dominique Mohrman Avon, CO
34 David Courtney Vail, CO
35 Susan Gustafson Carbondale, CO
36 David Schempf Eagle, CO

VAIL – The true embodiment of Labor Day spirit in this town are people like Taylor Buxton, 10, and Matthew Cox, 14.

They spent Sunday working at Vail Rotary’s annual Rubber Duck Race down Gore Creek, and their job was an important one — asset recovery, with a side of environmental protection.

“We go after all the ducks and make sure none of them are stuck out there, and nobody’s picking them out of the water,” Cox said.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Buxton. “After bending down, picking up, bending down, picking up, your back gets hurt, but sometimes you got to just push through it for the greater good.”


Both Vail and Lionshead parking structures filled on Sunday, with 342 cars spilling over onto the frontage road.

With events identified as an important draw to the summer economy in Vail Village, the extended weekend always sees a cluster of annual events such as the duck race. It has been turning Gore Creek yellow in Vail in some form or another since the mid ‘70s.

Elsewhere in the area, activities such as riding Vail’s gondolas, attending the Vail Jazz Party, Oktoberfest at Beaver Creek and the farmer’s market on Meadow Drive in Vail were enjoyed by the crowds.

The hydration station at Vail’s farmer’s market, supplied and staffed by the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, served more than 100 gallons again this week, after dropping to less than 50 gallons last Sunday.

Now a large event with standing room-only crowds packing the creek’s bridges and banks, the yellow spectacle of the Rotary duck race is designed for kids to enjoy, with dozens of youngsters jumping in the creek and splashing with the ducks.” We’ve been coming for 16 years,” said Kimberly Lefever, of Denver. “We have pictures of all five of our kids in the water with the ducks.”

Keeping a close eye on Mitchell “Moose” Lefever, 12, Brian Lefever said that Moose’s siblings were in the creek swimming with the ducks when Moose was as young as a baby.” I don’t think he knows a Labor Day without the duckie race,” Brian Lefever said.

Taylor Buxton — the 10-year-old with the sore back — is also from Denver. Her parents said that with no siblings, she excels in adult activities, such as backbreaking labor. She also excels in her understanding of the importance of that labor. “It’s something you should do just to help out the community, even though you may not live here,” Buxton said Sunday.

Buxton’s father, Gary, said Taylor has been enjoying Gore Creek on Labor Day for years, and this year decided to volunteer. “She just always loves to help,” he said.

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