April 26, 2005 > Rubber duckies flock to Lake Elizabeth
Rubber duckies flock to Lake Elizabeth
by Tony C. Yang
For the past 11 years, thousands of people from across the Bay Area have flocked to see the Ducks for Bucks race, held at Fremont's Lake Elizabeth. This year's Ducks for Bucks Benefit Race is scheduled for April 30, and promises a carnival, exciting prizes and features thousands of little yellow ducks swimming for riches and glory.
According to Chip Koehler of the Kiwanis Club of Fremont, about 8,500 to 10,000 ducks are expected to be in the race this year. "The more the better," he said. "[It's] for the [benefit of] various non-profit organizations that help us put this race on."
Over 40 non-profit organizations are involved in the Ducks for Bucks program. Last year, $51,076 was raised for local charities. The League of Volunteers, along with a myriad of local charitable organizations from churches to junior high schools, helped sponsor 7,414 rubber ducks last year.
Though the numbers of ducks- and supporters- have increased since the Ducks for Bucks inaugural race in 1995, "In principle, not much has changed since the very first race,' said Koehler. He says that the conduct of the race is "essentially the same." Ducks are unloaded from a truck into the lake and move (usually with assistance of a fire department hose) toward a small winner's gate. Prizes are awarded by the order in which the ducks move through the gate.
Some of the best memories of a good race come not from the ducks, but the audience members.
Koehler gave a vivid example of how one woman got so excited over winning $500 cash, she "jumped to her feet, and hugged one of our members who just so happened to be standing nearby. Her excitement and the fact that a winner was in the audience made that particular duck race a huge success." Supporters can also take pride in the many worthwhile uses of the Ducks for Bucks proceeds- from charitable donations to local non-profits to holiday presents for needy children.
Children and adults can also enjoy food booths, music and other attractions along the lakeshore.
Each year, there is a celebrity Race Marshal, and this year, country radio station personality Katie Mason from 95.7 FM "The Bear" will preside over the festivities. Throughout race day, drawings will be held for dozens of prizes, from trips to Disneyland and Mexico to a brand new Chevrolet Cobalt courtesy of Central Chevrolet.
Without corporate sponsorship or community involvement, however, none of this is possible. This generosity is greatly appreciated, Koehler said. "They are the ones that really help make this race a success." He added, "The community has been very generous in their support of the race over the past 11 years and we are looking forward to their generosity continuing this year."
Ducks for Bucks
Saturday, April 30
40000 Paseo Padre Pkwy., Fremont