Fourth Maple Ridge Rotary Duck Race a success

Myriam Hickey, Gabriella Montenegro and Aliyah Hickey move the ducks along at the end of the fourth annual Rotary Duck Race along the Alouette River by Maple Ridge Park  on Sunday.   - Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS
Myriam Hickey, Gabriella Montenegro and Aliyah Hickey move the ducks along at the end of the fourth annual Rotary Duck Race along the Alouette River by Maple Ridge Park on Sunday.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS

One little rubber duck, then two little rubber ducks hit the water Sunday, followed by another 8,300 of them.

And after the few minutes it took them to make it to the collection point in the South Alouette River by Maple Ridge Park, one lucky participant, Roanne Viveiros, won a new car.

“It was a pretty good turnout for a rainy day,” said Meadow Ridge Rotary Duck Race volunteer Irena Shantz.

“We were hoping to hit $100,000 this year.”

That didn’t happen, though, as proceeds dropped from last year, when $89,555 was raised for 27 local non-profit organizations and Rotary youth projects.

Shantz said this year just a little more than $83,000 was raised, the fourth year of the event.

But there may not be a fifth Rotary Duck Race.

Irena said her husband, local lawyer and Rotary member Bob Shantz, is getting worn out from running the event with little help.

“We need some volunteers to step forward. It becomes a one-man show. It’s too much for four years in a row.”

While efforts had been made to divide up the organizational challenges, “It’s just not working.”

Irena said if the race does take place next year, it could go earlier in the summer, perhaps in June.

Holding it on the Labour Day weekend probably affected the numbers.

The Duck Race gives a quarter of the funds to KidSport, a charity that helps low-income families with the expenses of organized sports.

In addition to that, the 31 Maple Ridge groups that sold the tickets got to keep 90 per cent of the proceeds of every $10 ticket each sold.

Local businesses donated six prizes.

Viveiros won a 2013 Fiat 500 POP Hatchback, worth $21,380, courtesy of Fiat in Maple Ridge.

Amrit Bains won a week-long stay in Whistler as second prize, and Matt DeBruyn won a $1,000 gift certificate from Mark’s. Paula Meredith won a $1,000 gift card from Fuller Watson Home Furnishings. Lanshin Han picked up the fifth-place prize – two rounds of golf for four people at Meadow Gardens Golf Club, including a golf cart. Phyllis Siu won a flat screen TV from Haney Sewing and Sound.

Winners were determined by the order in which their numbered duck crossed the finish line.

“It only takes about four minutes for the ducks to come down the river. It’s exciting to watch,” said Irena.

But it takes a lot of work to make sure every duck gets under way, then to collect them at the end of the race.

And it’s hard to get new volunteers to pitch in.

“It’s great to be part of it and it’s great to raise this money.”


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