Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Take your chance on a million-dollar duck

Great Wagon Days Duck Race set for Sunday, Sept. 5

Express Staff Writer

Last year’s Great Wagon Days Duck Race gets under way at the Big Wood River bridge on Warm Springs Road. As with last year, some of the ducks could be worth $1 million to a lucky owner. Photo by Willy Cook

The 14th annual "running of the ducks" is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 5, in the Great Wagon Days Duck Race in Ketchum. As with last year, a few of those ducks could win the owner $1 million.

The odds aren't great. Six of some 20,000 ducks will be selected randomly prior to the race as $1 million ducks. If one of those six ducks finishes in 13th place, its owner wins the $1 million.

There are lots of other cool prizes, too, for the owners of ducks who finish first through 12th, but the Great Wagon Days Duck Race is about more than just winning—it's about raising money for student scholarships, annual holiday food baskets and Blaine County Search and Rescue.

Since its inception 14 years ago, the duck race has raised more than $800,000 for charitable causes.

This year's duck festivities are set to start at 1 p.m. at Rotary Park in Ketchum, with a party, live music and kids activities. Nearby, at about 3 p.m., about 20,000 ducks will be dumped into the Big Wood River at the Warm Springs Road bridge. The finish line is about a 0.1 mile away at Rotary Park, where the top 13 ducks will be collected and the owners identified. Winners will be announced at Rotary Park about 30 minutes after the race ends.

To win a prize, though, you need to get your ducks in a row by buying some. The cost is $5 per duck, or $25 for a Six Quack pack. You can get 13 ducks for $50, or 25 for $100. For the more serious duck buyer, the price is $500 for 125 ducks or $1,000 for 250 ducks.

Ducks are available at Atkinsons' Market in Ketchum and Hailey, at the Wood River Community YMCA in Ketchum, Towne and Parke Jewelers in Sun Valley and the Visitors Center near Giaccobi Square in Ketchum.

The event is organized by the Ketchum-Sun Valley Rotary Club, the Sawtooth Board of Realtors and Blaine County Search and Rescue. Ducks can be bought from members of those organizations.

Event sponsors include Cox Communications, Sun Valley Co., D.L. Evans Bank, Wood River Community YMCA, Sun Valley Insurance, SEFNCO Communications, Marketron, Amerititle, St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center, Okland Construction, Davis Embroidery, Blaine County Title, Idaho Independent Bank and the Idaho Mountain Express.

This year's prizes, besides the possibility of winning the $1 million, include various vacation, food-and-drink, and car and pet-care packages, described in the event brochure.

Terry Smith:

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