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21st annual Duck Run Kickoff on tap

June 5, 2018 GMT

With about $60,000 netted from their big fundraising effort in 2017, Columbus Area United Way leaders are hoping to top that this summer and reward the community at the same time.

A “dream” vacation, $10,000 cash, a Kenmore French door refrigerator, a diamond neckless, groceries for a year and more will be up for grabs later this summer. All one has to do is buy a rubber duck and hope the little guy has speed in the water.

The 21st Annual Columbus Area United Way Lazy River Duck Run is slated for Friday, Aug. 17 at Pawnee Plunge, 560 33rd Ave. in Columbus.

“The event itself, it amazes me how big it has become,” said Jo Suess, development director for the local nonprofit.

The mission of the organization is to focus resources to measurably improve the education, financial and health stability of Platte, Colfax, Boone, Nance, Polk and Butler counties by partnering with other area agencies. With the August event, all purchased and numbered rubber duckies are placed in the lazy river and vying for over a dozen prizes that will be announced that weekend during Columbus Days. First place is awarded $10,000 in cash, while second gets a dream vacation travel voucher worth $6,000, third a diamond necklace and fourth the fridge. Other top 10 prizes are free groceries ($100 per month) for a year from Hy-Vee (fifth); a $1,000 Apple Store gift card (sixth); $1,000 gas gift card (seventh); a Samsung smart TV (eighth); a $750 gift card to Slumberland Furniture (ninth); and a Play Station 4 (10th).

In addition, 13 “lucky” ducks will be selected at random and win their owners $100 in Columbus Bucks.

Ready to get your duck? Tickets for them will be available for purchase as part of the Duck Ticket Sales Kickoff event from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at Slumberland Furniture, 2268 33rd Ave. and Pinnacle Bank East, 210 E. 23rd St. The first location will feature a Mexico theme and a nacho bar, while the latter will have an island vibe equipped with burgers and brats. One duck is $5, however, residents can opt to get seven for $25 or 30 for $100 to improve their odds of winning a prize. Those who take advantage of the seven-for-25 deal (an exclusive for those who buy tickets on Thursday) will also be entered to win a 60-minute massage from Dynamic Life Therapy and Wellness PC.

“It’s just a great way for people in the community to support the United Way and the awesome things they do. It’s a fun little event,” said Amy Bell, co-chairwoman of the Duck Run. “It’s a way to get the community together. It’s a way to contribute without making a large investment.”

Columbus’ Sears Hometown Store, 4300 23rd St., is a 20-year sponsor of the event. Store owner Steve Long said being part of it for so many years was about having a nice way to help local people.

“The United Way is a great organization. It helps a lot of good people, so it’s a good organization to help sponsor,” he said. “It’s just a fun way to raise money for the United Way and an easy way for us to invest in the community.”

Although watching the ducks race is quite a good time, Suess insisted nobody loses sight of the bigger purpose.

“We want to help residents in the community with whatever issues there are,” she said. “That’s what we do.”

Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at matt.lindberg@lee.net.