The rubber finally met the road — or, more accurately, the water — Saturday when Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful hosted the 20th anniversary of its Wacky Quacky Ducky Derby in the duck pond spillway at Big Spring Memorial Park in Athens.
The event invites the public to adopt rubber ducks in a race for prizes from donors across the region. KALB Executive Coordinator Leigh Patterson said this year's derby was the biggest ever, with 2,238 ducks in the race.
“That is very exciting,” Patterson said. “We had 23 wonderful prizes donated thanks to our sponsors, which allows every dollar raised by the event to go back to KALB. It's been one of our most successful fundraisers.”
Patterson said more than $5,700 was raised by this year's derby. KALB now has 6,000 ducks total that could be entered in the derby, and she hopes the event will continue to grow in the future.
This was the first ducky derby run by Patterson, but she said helping out with the event for the past eight years left her ready for the task. Lynne Hart, who recently retired from the executive coordinator position at KALB, was on hand to help at this year's event.
“I pulled (Lynne) out of retirement to catch ducks for us,” Patterson said. “She could concentrate on catching ducks, and I was able to do the announcements. I do appreciate her taking the time to volunteer.”
Patterson said the weather was perfect for Saturday's event, and turnout was “pretty much the same as normal” despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“It's a fun event for the kids to watch,” Patterson said.
The following prizes were awarded during the 2020 Wacky Quacky Ducky Derby. Winners did not have to be present at the race to win.
• $2,000 grand prize from American Leakless Co. — Chris and Amy Looney;
• One-night stay at the Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa and dinner for two at the 360 Grille — Sides Auto Body;
• Round of golf for four — Canebrake Club — Genie and Charles Woodroof;
• $250 gift card — Osborne's Jewelers — Jerry Davis;
• $250 cash — American Leakless Co. — Tony Luttrell;
• $200 cash — Athens-Limestone Hospital — Naomi Dubois;
• $200 cash — Brody Jackson State Farm — Keith Pryor;
• $200 cash — Distinctive Landscaping Inc. — Amelia Smith;
• $200 cash — Morell Engineering — Robert Harrell;
• Gift Basket ($190 value) — The SK Salon — Carol Malone;
• $100 gift card — Hobbs Jewelers — Chris and Amy Looney;
• $100 cash — American Leakless Co. — John and Donna Cotten;
• $100 cash — American Leakless Co. — Jeannie Pirtle;
• $100 cash — Athens-Limestone Hospital — Martin Frazzini;
• $100 cash — Brody Jackson State Farm — James Cutting;
• $100 cash — Distinctive Landscaping Inc. — Ben Griffin;
• $100 cash — First National Bank — Trustmark Bank;
• $100 cash — Morell Engineering — Matthew Anerton;
• $50 cash — American Leakless Company — Rodney Huffman;
• $50 cash — Athens-Limestone Hospital — Kyle Smith;
• $50 cash — Brody Jackson State Farm — Pam Haney;
• $50 cash — Distinctive Landscaping Inc. — Keith Hicks; and
• $50 Cash — Morell Engineering — Tina Finley.
Ricki Schwartz and Marilyn Ford won a separate drawing for Disney park-hopper passes.
Hyatt & Sims, Misty White, Martha Long, Don and Janice Wojtal, Geraldine Eged and Steven Chockley each adopted a "lazy duck," also known as the duck that comes last in a derby heat. Each won a gift certificate for a free meal from Dub's Burgers.