Saturday, September 22, 2001
Steamboat Springs Brett Denney brought a pole to the banks of the Yampa River on Saturday morning to do some fishing of sorts.
Denney, 11, was one of many Boy Scouts and Kiwanis members who volunteered to keep rubber ducks on course at the 14th annual Rubber Ducky Race sponsored by the Yampa Valley Medical Center Auxiliary and Steamboat Springs Kiwanis.
Volunteers fished wayward rubber ducks out of rocks and eddies with an assortment of PVC and ski poles, rakes and brooms.
Denney, like many other boys, sought the warmth of a towel in between trips to retrieve a few hard-to-reach ducks in the chilly waters.
"We're getting in all the way up to our shoulders," Denney said. "You have to do that to reach them with your pole when they get stuck."
About 1,400 rubber ducks were released into the Yampa River from the bridge at Weiss Park, and spectators cheered on the ducks all the way to finish line at the 13th Street bridge.
Kiwanis member Dan Miller and his two sons followed the ducks down the river, looking for stray ones that might need an extra push.
Ski poles were the fishing tool of choice.
"You figure out how to use it eventually," Miller said. "We're just happy to help with such a good cause."
Participants paid $10 for each duck, with proceeds being donated to Yampa Valley Medical Center to purchase a portable ultrasound machine to be used at the Doak Walker Care Center.
Ticket sales began in early August, but people were still buying tickets up the start of the race, former auxiliary president Marjory Arbogast said.
"It pushed back the start of the race 10 minutes," Arbogast said. "People were just so responsive to our last-minute push for tickets."
Auxiliary member Jane Remberg donned a duck costume and stood on the street corner persuading passersby to buy tickets.
"It must have worked because more people bought tickets," she said.
A line of 11 volunteers armed with large buckets, fishing nets and plastic bags stopped the pink, blue and yellow ducks as they floated past the finish line.
The top 75 finishers earned a prize, and the top five finishers received special prize packages.
"We wanted to really make them special this year," race chairwoman Peggy Filer said. "The generosity of our local merchants made that possible."
The first-place winner was awarded a ski package, including an adult season pass, new skis and a SportsMed conditioning class. Second place received a golf package that included a round of golf for four at Catamount. Third place received two Indianapolis 500 tickets and passes to a "Meet the Drivers" party. Fourth place was awarded a fishing package, and fifth place received a "Lunch Around the World" that included lunch for two at several local restaurants.
Rubber ducks bought by Eric Rystedt, Linda Corkadel, Debbie Alpe, Gary Grillo and Sandy Thrasher finished first through fifth, respectively.
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