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Seven thousand yellow rubber ducks floated across the Alamance County Community YMCA pool during the seventh annual Rubber Duck Dash for the Cash Sept. 20. The Rubber Duck Dash raises money for the Alamance County Meals on Wheels program. Four hundred elderly citizens rely on Meals on Wheels in order to eat and receive the proper nutrition.  Anne Baker, executive director of Alamance County Meals on Wheels, said the program expects to serve 100,000 meals in one year in Alamance County alone. While the majority of the money from the event purchases food for these individuals, the participants have a chance to earn some glory as well.  The winning duck receives a cash prize of $2,500. Close-following ducks, 12 randomly selected ducks and the last duck the volunteers scoop out of the pool also receive various cash prizes. "Participants buy chances, or adopt a duck for $5," Baker said. "Basically, when you buy a duck for $5, you are buying a meal for a person." Lee Isley planned the event with Baker. As the duck chairman, Isley

Volunteers dump 7,000 rubber ducks into the Alamance County Community YMCA pool. One duck was worth a $2,500 cash prize.


said he believes his most important responsibility is to motivate. "(It is) probably the best thing to motivate our board into selling ducks," Isley said. His efforts proved successful. Even during the struggling economy, this year's Rubber Duck Dash earned more money than any previous race. Baker has not counted the money yet, but knows the event raised at least $30,000. Isley credits Baker, the staff and all of the board members for the event's success.

Each duck was sold to a participant for $5. This buys one meal for the Meals on Wheels program.

Twenty to 25 volunteers assisted in the event as well. Some volunteers emptied the buckets of ducks into the pool while others hosed the ducks, pushing them toward the finish line. Volunteer Resi Forrest poured one bucket of ducks into the YMCA pool. She said she believes her job was easy. She "just dump(ed) and let them go," Forrest said jokingly. Although the actual race lasted a mere 10 minutes, the beginning process did not come about as quickly.

A volunteer wades through the pool to pick 12 prize-winning rubber ducks.

‘Rubber ducky, you’re the one’ cont.

Baker has "been talking about ducks for about 10 years," she said. Before the first Duck Dash seven years ago, Baker had been discussing the possibility of a Rubber Duck Race for three years. After three years of talk, the duck team took action. "Once we did it, we stuck by and it has been a wonderful event for us and a wonderful event for the community ever since," Baker said. Even though the event aims to help the elderly, the presence of children showed the race engages all ages.  Phillip Brown and Kent Byrd, two young Boy Scouts, held the responsibility of fishing the rubber ducks out of the pool once the race had ended. Brown did not adopt any ducks, but thought his job was "pretty cool and pretty fun." Byrd purchased three chances.  "I sponsored three of them, but I really have no idea out of the 7,000 which ones are mine," she said. After the first few ducks crossed the finished line, the Rubber Duck Dash for the Cash staff fed the number written on the duck into the computer in order to find the winning participant. Video is available at id=2553V. Video is by Melissa Kansky and Ashley Barnas

NUMBERS Grand Prize Winning Duck

124 Total number of ducks

7000 Cost to Sponsor a duck


Rubber ducky you're the one  

My first article for The Pendulum. Published fall 2009.

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