Steamboat Springs Today's rubber ducky race could be the best ever for the Yampa Valley Medical Center Auxiliary.
The day before the race, Auxiliary Chairwoman Pat Sharp said $11,000 had already been raised. That amount is more than the money raised last year, which produced the best results in the history of the event. Sharp said 1,100 tickets have already been sold for $10 apiece as part of the organization's only fund-raiser for the year.
"We are way ahead of last year," Sharp said. "That is exciting. We have been doing this for 15 years and it is just amazing. We keep getting better every year."
The money raised will go to purchasing an isolette for the Yampa Valley Medical Center's Neo-Natal Unit. YVMC has to rent the isolette, a kind of incubator, every time one is needed in the hospital's baby nursery. Sharp said with the baby boom after Sept. 11, it has been harder to rent an isolette and at times has been unavailable.
The isolette costs between $10,000 and $12,000, Sharp said.
In the rubber ducky race's 15th year, the location has changed from Weiss Park to the Fifth Street bridge. Sharp said the organization wanted to shorten the length of the race. She said in the past people got bored with the 45-minute to one-hour trip the ducks took down the Yampa River.
By starting at the Fifth Street bridge, spectators can watch the ducks the entire time by following the bike path.
The Kiwanis club will help out by taking the ducks out of the water when they cross the finish line and local Boy Scouts will be along the river's edge to make sure all the ducks are steadily floating down the river.
This year, Sharp said there would be 24 prizewinners. She said the prize format has changed with winners receiving group packages instead of single prizes.
One of the most coveted packages includes a full season ski pass, a full season ski tune-up by One Stop Ski Shop, a gift certificate from Terry Sports and a ski-conditioning class from Sports Medicine. Other packages group together meals from three or four different restaurants, dinners and movies, a one-year membership to the Steamboat Springs Health and Rec and a savings bond from Vectra Bank.
Sharp said ticket holders do not have to be present at the race to receive their prize. Tickets can be purchased at City Market and Safeway or from any YVMC auxiliary member.