Duck Race sponsors vie for awards in advance of Saturday’s race
The ducks all began as yellow plastic things.
But when they put on their costumes, got splashed in paint or, in one case, lined in tile, they took on the identities of superheroes, political candidates and characters in between before undergoing scrutiny by the Rotary Club of Loveland.
The 153 ducks competed for first to third place Tuesday as two artists, a teacher and a student judged them in seven categories. The judges used dots to mark their favorites and judging sheets as they studied the open-billed competitors, lined up in rows on six shelves of the Rotary duck wagon.
There were a few Donald Trumps, such as entrant “Ducknald Trump,” a few Pokémons, such as Pokéduck, a Picasso, artist Bob Ross with his easel, Batman, Duck Vader, Dolly Duck, Angry Ducks (friends of the Angry Birds), Tubby Duck in a plastic bathtub, Granny Duck in a chair and gray curls, Goldie Duck and the 3 Bears wearing felt bear ears, and some of the characters from Wizard of Oz.
“Every year the ducks get more creative,” said Lynn Matson, co-chairman of the Rotary Club of Loveland duck race sponsors. “It’s fascinating to see the creativity of businesses, individuals and the community.”
The Rotary Club of Loveland hosted judging at Chase Bank in downtown Loveland for the ninth annual Rotary Duck Race decorated large sponsor ducks contest. The duck race, in which large and small ducks float the Big Thompson River at Fairgrounds Park to a finish line for ribbons and cash and sponsored prizes, will be Saturday as one of the events of the 2016 Old-Fashioned Corn Roast Festival.
There will be 7,000 little ducks going for a swim and approximately half of the big ducks will join in, but they’ll lose some of their decorations in the water. The big ducks don’t earn money for getting wet but bragging rights ribbons.
The ducks for the contest are sponsored and decorated by individuals and teams, who pay $100-$500 to participate based on their number of entries. The ducks were judged in the categories of best dressed, best named, most creative and best theme, which is for a set of three or more ducks, along with two new categories for students in grades K-6 and 7-12.
Artist George Walbye, photographer Darlene St. John and B.F. Kitchen third-grade teacher Jody Paul did the judging, working individually and then coming together to decide on the top three in each category.
Paul looked for humorous names, creativity and the workmanship that went into decorating the ducks, she said.
“You just can tell the effort of work put into it,” Paul said. “It’s hard to pick because there’s a lot of really good ones. I want to give more prizes than what’s allotted.”
St. John also judged for creativity and level of work, she said.
“I like to look at stuff that has work put into it. It’s not as easy as it looks,” she said.
B.F. Kitchen fourth-grader Quinlen Baladez picked the student’s choice sponsor ducks for first- to third place.
“I thought it would be fun to actually judge ducks, to see all the amazing creativity that people have done,” Quinlen said. “I like that people actually show what’s on their minds about their ducks.”
The money raised from the contest and duck race will be used to provide high school seniors with scholarships and to buy dictionaries and electronic tablets for third-graders in Thompson School District — last year, the club netted $37,000.
In the past, the money was solely used to buy dictionaries for every third-grader in the district, but this year, the Rotary Club is partnering with several Parent Teacher Organizations to purchase iPad Minis or Chromebooks for third-grade classes with the goal of providing one tablet for every two students.
The tablets will be distributed to 12 schools, four each month from September to November.
The Rotary Club received feedback from teachers that students wanted to look up words online instead of using dictionaries because it’s faster, Matson said.