Just when you thought you’d heard enough about the Winthrop Kiwanis Duck Race — but, wait, there’s more!
First, a little history: Rubber ducks emerged in the late 1800s with the invention of Charles Goodyear’s vulcanized rubber. The first solid rubber ducks were too heavy to float, so they were intended to be chew toys. The now-ubiquitous yellow ducks — still known as “rubber” ducks — may be made of rubber or a rubber-like material such as vinyl plastic. They have achieved an iconic status in Western pop culture.
No longer just a tub toy, rubber ducks have taken on a life of their own. There are stores in Europe that carry nothing but the Lilalu Rubber Duck line that includes more than 350 duck characters. If you need an early stocking stuffer or just a fun gift, check out the Lilalu website and peruse the panoply of ducks: Photographer Duck, Buddha Duck, Surgeon Duck, Grandpa Duck, or Hippie Female Duck, to name just a few.
Going back at least 30 years, hundreds of rubber duck races are held each year in the United States and internationally as fundraising events. Imagine the organization it must take for the Freestore Foodbank Rubber Duck Regatta in Cincinnati, Ohio, where over 150,000 ducks participate, raising over $1 million each year. Many nonprofits nationwide partner with an organization such as GAME to raise the level of fundraising and help with pulling off an event with thousands of rubber ducks.
Here in the Methow, Winthrop Kiwanis Club was thrilled with a record number of ticket sales (2,500-plus) for the Duck Race on Labor Day (Sept. 7). It was the hard work of mostly septuagenarians that made the race happen: hours of selling tickets, organizing ducks, hauling garbage cans of ducks, collecting snagged ducks, and standing in the chilling river catching the ducks at the finish line.
Special thanks to the club, including Roy Reiber (ticket seller in chief), Don Carlson, Melissa Cahill, Suellen White, Randy and Lisa Johnson, Alisa Malloch, Greg Knott, John Owen, Ray Peterson, Rick Lewis, Rick Jones, Jim Archambeault and Dinese Graves for help on race day. Ken Malloch, another member who is always a laboring oar, was called away on the fires that erupted the night before the race or he would have been there, too. All of this to fund scholarships, projects for kids, and to fill other community needs.
The first duck swam over the finish line at 30 minutes, 12 seconds, four full minutes ahead of duck No. 2. The winning duck was scrutinized carefully to be sure he didn’t have a hidden motor! Prize-winning ducks: No. 1 (2491), Jennifer West, $400; No. 2 (1354) Drew Johnson, $200; No. 3 (070) Lisa Johnson, $100; No. 4 (2033) Jane Gilbertson, $50; No. 5 (775) Mason Brandt, $50. Of note: Two of the prizewinners donated their money back to the club and anonymous donations totalling $2,100 were also received. Great job, Kiwanians and community!
Craig McDonald relayed that his neighbor Willie Getz is seeking a new home for a historic 1952 Chevrolet truck with roots in the Methow. Jay Lucas and Dale Caulfield tell of the workhorse truck being used to move one of the original Rendezvous Huts to a new location many years ago. Anyone who would like a project and a piece of history, contact Getz for details at (509) 996-2747.