Friday, August 30, 2013

A race runs through it

Great Wagon Days Duck Race benefits charity

Express Staff Writer

The Great Wagon Days Duck Race offers fun for the whole family, as 10,000 rubber ducks float down the Big Wood River.

    For the second consecutive year, the Great Wagon Days Duck Race will be held immediately after the big parade at about 2 p.m. on Aug. 31.
    For the past 17 years, the Ketchum Rotary Club has been responsible for holding the event that will feature 10,000 rubber ducks racing down the Big Wood River at Rotary Park in Ketchum. The event will enable the Rotary Club to provide financial help to a variety of community organizations.
    “This is our main fundraiser—it’s where we get all of our money,” said Hailee Blomquist, a former Rotary Club president and now a board member.
    She said more than $1 million has been raised from the event over its history.
    “When the economy was great, we could gross around $100,000. Now we’re lucky to reach $50,000,” she said.
    Blomquist said a third of the money raised goes to Blaine County Search and Rescue, about a third goes to student scholarships and about a third goes to several different community organizations such as the Sun Valley Ballet and the local 4-H Club.
    There are six different offers for people to adopt ducks in the race. They range from one duck for $5 to 250 for $1,000. Blomquist said the “six quack” offer, in which people can buy six ducks for $25, has had a lot of winners.
    There are 13 prizes, with first prize being a 2013-14 Sun Valley season ski pass. All 13 prizes were donated to the Ketchum Rotary Club.
    The event will include multiple food vendors and live music by Cake Face Jane. The Interact Club will be selling hot dogs, while Tony’s Ice Cream and Wood River Pizza are likely to sell food at the event as well. Adults attending the race can buy beer and mojitos. The gathering point is at Rotary Park on Warm Springs Road.
    “I believe people should come out and attend the race because Rotary is a huge part of the community,” Blomquist said. “Our motto is ‘service above self.’
    “I joined Rotary because I wanted to give back to the community I was raised in,” she said. “When I came back, I knew I wanted to become a part of something bigger than me. This is a close-knit group that really wants to give back to its community, and that’s what we do.”

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