Rotary Clubs of Bend Kick-Off 2016 Duck Race

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(Photo above: Younity board of directors (L-R) Carol Oxenrider, Arlene Gibson, Samantha Spaciano, Stephanie Keith and Younity Program Director Megan Oliver by Krystal Marie Collins)

The official kick off of the Great Drake Park Duck Race was recently held at Robberson Ford. This year’s selected non-profits were announced along with details of the race and how/where to get tickets.

The Great Drake Park Duck Race, now in its 27th year, is a favorite Bend tradition. Rotarians “launch” the ducks in the Deschutes River at the Galveston Bridge and collect the winners downstream from the foot bridge in Drake Park.

$5 raffle tickets are sold by Bend Rotarians, selected non-profit entities and local Credit Unions Working Together (OnPoint, SELCO, Community First, Oregonians and Mid Oregon Credit Unions). Numbers on the tickets are randomly assigned to numbers on the plastic ducks, with the winning ducks receiving prizes donated by area businesses. This year’s first place prize is a $20,000 voucher toward the purchase of a vehicle from Robberson Ford.

Bend Rotary Clubs raised over $92,000 from 2015 ticket sales—all of which went to local non-profit entities. Over the years over $1.3 million have been raised from this event. Selected non-profits over the years include The Boys and Girls Clubs, Mountain Star Relief Nursery, Healthy Beginnings, Smart, Younity, Assistance League, Abilitree and other local organizations.

This year’s race will take place Sunday, September 11.

HISTORY OF THE DUCK RACE AND ROTARY
According to Chas Nelson, a member of the Rotary Club of Greater Bend who helped organize the first race, the event was the idea of the Central Oregon Duck Club.  The first race was in 1989 and was approved by the Lottery Commission for the Boom Collection and the type of ducks used.

The first three years it was run under the U of O Lottery License with the Duck Club getting $1,000 of the proceeds.  “As the event got bigger the Beavers didn’t like the idea that they were donating to the Ducks for there football team,” Nelson remembered.

The Duck Club relationship ended and the Rotary took over the licensing with the profits going to local non-profit agencies.  “We have been very fortunate to have a community that supports this great event.
Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. In more than 160 countries worldwide, approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 30,000 Rotary clubs.

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