Vail Duck Race winners are in

The Vail Duck Race brought thousands of rubber duckies to Gore Creek on Sunday, Sept. 1, in Vail.
Ryan Cole | Special to the Daily

VAIL – The Vail Rotary Club’s annual Duck Race filled Gore Creek with 12,000 classic yellow rubber duckies in a sprint to the finish for a chance to win $1 million on Sunday.

About 8,600 of those ducks were adopted by people and the first one to cross the finish line was an adopted duck, making it a fun finish, Penny Wilson with the Vail Rotary Club said on Monday.

“We’re always excited when that happens,” she said.

The course ran from the Covered Bridge to International Bridge; Gore Creek became a yellow patch as the throng advanced, crossing dozens of children and dogs along the way while hundreds watched from the banks of the creek. There was no $1-million winner this year, but Brandon K. Hurey’s duck crossed the finish line first to win him $5,000.

Hurey once lived in Vail and has fond memories of watching the Duck Race. Now a regularly returning guest, he often comes to Vail with intentions of adopting a duck or two, but never seems to get it done before leaving town. 

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“Every year we’ve been coming back I say, ‘I gotta go buy a duck,’ but we get caught up doing stuff with our kids and I forget,” Hurey said on Monday. “This year I made everyone wait while I filled out the form.”

Hurey adopted four ducks for $20 at the Vail farmers market on Aug. 18 while his family waited. It turned out to be well worth the wait.

With the money, he’d like to say the family is planning another vacation to Vail, but “we were already doing that anyway,” he said with a laugh.

Return found ducks

Local Boy Scout Troop 231 helped retrieve the ducks from Gore Creek following the race. Wilson said since enlisting the troop’s help, very few ducks have gone missing. 

“But it does happen,” she said. “People’s dogs or kids grab them unintentionally.”

If you find a numbered duck among your positions, you can return it to the Vail or Lionshead Village welcome center buildings within the parking structures.

“Every duck that gets taken, we have to replace,” Wilson said. “And that takes money away from our local and international projects.”


The annual Vail Duck Race down Gore Creek is the Vail Rotary Club’s biggest annual fundraiser. This year’s event raised about $75,000, which met the fundraiser’s goal for 2019.

The Rotary Club will use the money to help the Rotary International Youth Exchange send local high school juniors overseas for a year, provide college scholarships for graduating high school seniors, the Rotary/Zeke Pierce Memorial EMT Scholarship at Colorado Mountain College, the high school career fair, the Literacy Project of Eagle County’s Raising a Reader program, “I Can Read Songs” CDs for kindergarten students, the Cycle Effect, SOS Outreach, the Food Rescue Express, the I-70 highway cleanup, Canine Companions for Independence, the annual 911 First Responder Award dinner, the Eagle Valley Senior Life program and Vail Mountain Rescue.

In addition to Hurey, 31 other winners will receive prizes including gift certificates for hotels, restaurants and retailers.

Sunday’s winners did not need to be present to win, and the Vail Rotary Club will attempt to contact them by telephone. If winner cannot be contacted with a reasonable effort and does not come forward to claim prize within 30 days of the race, the prize will be forfeited, according to the official rules.

Complete list of winners below:

  1. Brandon K. Hurey
  2. Marty Dubin
  3. E. Bradley Pewitt
  4. Isora Nozaki
  5. Gretchen Florescue
  6. Suzie Routh
  7. Janie Cliver
  8. Carey Lowe-Curry
  9. Jamie Woodworth
  10. John D. Akin
  11. Haya Varon
  12. Ed Sobon
  13. Janis Simon
  14. Frederick Berhene
  15. Susan Thompson
  16. Sue Dean
  17. Susanne Allen
  18. Marshall Gordon
  19. Averill Hovey
  20. Marian McIlvain
  21. Alba Padilla
  22. David Schneider
  23. Ferguson
  24. Ali & Gavin Berry
  25. Joe Bordonaro
  26. Ray Zivelonghi
  27. Mac McMehamy
  28. Tracey Workmen
  29. Nina Broach
  30. Patti Dixon
  31. Kay Dodd
  32. Audrey Teague

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