Mississippi River will hold 5,000 ducks come AugustWeighing in at about 2,000 pounds, a large fellow named Bob is very possibly Red Wing’s biggest resident.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
Weighing in at about 2,000 pounds, a large fellow named Bob is very possibly Red Wing’s biggest resident.
His height of nearly 10 feet is astounding for his age of just 5 years old. But despite Bob’s unbelievable measurements, his size doesn’t particularly concern him — mainly because he’s a duck.
“He’s a big duck,” Environmental Learning Center director Jason Jech clarified. “He needs to go on a little bit of a weight loss plan.”
Just don’t include exercise in that plan, or Bob won’t be having it.
Made of concrete and hauled around on a trailer, the giant bird doesn’t bother himself with paddling his feet to swim or flapping his wings to fly. Bob can be as lazy as he wants while still getting from place to place.
Where he travels, however, is not up to him.
“People pay $25 to park Bob in front of their friend’s or enemy’s house, whichever way you want to look at it,” Jech said.
The money — and Bob — are all part of a fundraiser put on by the ELC to help support summer programs and the children who sign up for them.
What started five years ago ended up taking a brief hiatus last summer before returning this year as one of the anticipated events of Red Wing’s River City Days in August.
The ELC’s Duck Rally will feature 5,000 little guys racing down the Mississippi River from one end of Bay Point Park to the other.
People can purchase a ticket for $5 that matches up with a certain duck. So while the humans focus on funding the race, the ducks fluff their feathers and focus on competing in it. OK, their yellow plastic bodies make it difficult to fluff much of anything, but those little duckies might just feel the pressure since prizes are at stake.
If a person’s duck can “out-float” the others, the winner will walk away with more than just the glory. The first-place finisher will receive $1,000. Second place earns a Wenonah canoe and third gets a Trek bike from Wheelhouse Cycles.
“So $5 could turn into $1,000,” Jech said.
Those who end up with lame ducks have a shot at winning something as well. There are also prizes available for the last-place finisher and for the duck that an ELC member’s dog plucks randomly out of the water, among others.
“Whatever ducks I buy tickets for always seem to space out and forget they’re in a race, so the ‘Pluck a Duck’ is the only way I’m ever likely to win a prize,” ELC Board member Jo Seton said.
Proceeds collected from the purchase of racing ducks and the rental of Bob will be split evenly, with half of the money going to the ELC and the remaining half going to the children who sold tickets in order to cover their program costs.
Jech said about 250 kids have signed up for summer programs through the ELC this year, ranging from rock climbing to backpacking to canoeing and more.
As long as they hold out, tickets for the Duck Rally will be sold until the end of the River City Days parade Aug. 5, just before the big race begins.
Bob will be available to “quack” homes and businesses the next couple of months, although his schedule has been pretty booked so far.
“He left mid-May from the ELC and hasn’t been back here yet,” Jech said.