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Rubber ducks flood Gore Creek

by Christine Ina Casillas
# 1 / Duck Race 8-31 MK/ Mk edit
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Rubber ducky, you’re the one. You make bath time lot’s of fun.

That might be what some people were chanting Sunday as a flock of rubber ducks floated down the Gore Creek from the Covered Bridge to the International Bridge in Vail.

But for others, it might have seemed like royalty was stepping foot inside the Vail Village as thousands of people lined the Gore Creek – all waiting with baited breath.

“It’s like trying to see the queen,” one visitor said. “Can you just see this?”

But then, the announcer’s voice floated across the microphone: “The ducks are in the water. The ducks are headed this way.”

More than 15,000 rubber ducks set sail down the Gore Creek, a little more than 100 yards from the Covered Bridge to the International Bridge in Vail for the 10th annual Rubber Duck Race by the Vail-Eagle Valley Rotary Club. It took the winners more than 10 minutes to cross the finish line.

“That’s my duck,” many competitors said. “Make sure it gets down here into the winner’s circle.”

The Vail-Eagle Valley Rotary Club hoped to raise more than $50,000 to $65,000 from this year’s event from sponsors.

This year, the ducks were adopted for $5 with proceeds going toward high school students seeking college scholarships, as well as other local community activities. And people were buying ducks up until the last minute.

Vail firemen Steve Blacke and Cody Richardson bought four rubber ducks each, but both said they weren’t hopeful that they would win big.

While the rapids were relatively low this time of year, the Gore Creek proved futile for some of the ducks, who meandered up into the rapids and detoured off the proper race route, stopping along the embankment and never quite making it to the end.

“It’s a very competitive environment here,” said Aurora resident Cheri Peyton. “I haven’t seen this race for years, but what a hoot.

The grand prize of this year’s rubber duck race was his and her Vespa’s, or motorized scooters, trips to Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Newport Beach, Calif. Other prizes included an all-mountain Vail Resorts ski pass, plus an array of miscellaneous prizes.

“It’s been a great day,” said Bob Brown of the rotary club.

The ducks have numbers, and at the end of the race, people go to registration and match the winning duck with the person who adopted it.

“This event gets better every year,” said Sharron Finch, who helped with the event, selling rubber ducks, “husband callers” and other ducky items. “The spirit of the event, the fun. I think it’s the most fun day of the year.”

Last year, there were 39 prizes. This year, there were several more.

“It’s a beautiful day,” said Colorado Springs resident Kelly Scott, laughing. “My duck obviously was the ugly duckling because I didn’t win anything. I guess I didn’t have all my ducks in a row after all.”

Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607 or at ccasillas@vaildaily.com.

And the winners are:

1. Alex Odishelidzke

2. Axley Hartman

3. Doug Barton

4. Carol Benson

5. Deborah Webster

6. Jason Hill


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