MOSES LAKE — Rubber ducky was certainly the one on Saturday, as the annual Duck Derby filled Cascade Park with kids, noise and fun.
The event is a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Columbia Basin and brought in $17,681, according to executive director Kim Pope.
“That includes our ticket sales and our sponsorships, and then we had a donation bucket there that was jam-packed with cash,” Pope said. “That is a little over $5,000 more than we did the year before. So it was fantastic.”
The basic set-up was perfect for a community like Moses Lake, with sunny weather and a beautiful body of water to play with. A boat stationed itself just offshore and floating lines were run to the edge of the lake to create a raceway. Then more than 5,000 rubber ducks were poured into the water, each with a ticket attached. The first 70 ducks to reach shore won prizes for the ticket holder, as did the last duck, which was worth $100.
As it happened, Pope said, the actual prize count was 73 ducks, as Troy White, who was there with his paddle board and kayak rental business, came over to the event and offered to throw in two free board rentals.
Seventeen booths were on hand from businesses and civic organizations, offering activities for the kids. One booth had bean bag tosses, another had hair coloring (don't worry, it washes out) and yet another let kids make quacking toys out of plastic cups. The Moses Lake Fire Department brought out a fire truck and a tanker truck, which kids were encouraged to climb on and explore. The Grant County Sheriff's Office likewise brought a four-wheeler and jet-ski for kids to sit on to have their picture taken.
“I think a favorite one was face painting,” Pope said. “My staff had four people painting faces and there were still kids in line as we were breaking everything down.”
Farm Credit Services and Kandi Bersanti of Windermere donated water, which was a must-have under the blazing Basin sun. Moses Lake Walmart supplied hot dogs and some volunteers to cook them on a barbecue.
The store has been turning out for community events like this since its opening in 1995, said volunteer Albert Wise. “We have a lot of community pride. That's why we help with these events,” Wise said.
His grillmate Dan Hennagir agreed. “It's not for money, it's for the community.”
Horizon Credit Union was the major sponsor, Pope said, donating cash for the prizes. First prize was $1,500. Other prizes included a set of four Mariners tickets, movie tickets from Fairchild Cinemas, passes to the Surf ‘n Slide Water Park, rodeo tickets and a plethora of gift baskets.
The money goes a long way toward keeping the club's four sites functioning, said Pope. There are over 1,000 registered club members and she figures that, since the beginning of last school year kids have used the facilities some 47,000 times. Some kids come every day and some don't, she said, but “that's quite an impact.”
“That's why we have to replace our equipment,” she added, “because we have all of these kids wanting to play pool, or play foosball, or use the computers for homework. That's our whole goal, to impact the kids in the community. Give them a safe place to go, let them have fun, let them be a kid.”