Duck race breaks records for time and community support

The 19th Annual Great Kitsap Duck Race took to the water July 29 with 22,000 rubber ducks splashing their way to a record finish.

“From the time last duck hit water to the time the first duck crossed the finish line was 10 minutes,” Barbara Beagle, Silverdale Rotarian and Marketing Chair for the event, said. “That is the fastest finish time we have ever had.”

A major fundraiser for the Silverdale Rotary Club, the event raised $76,000 that organizers said will benefit the community.

Although the race was completed in record time, Beagle said planning and preparation for the duck race began almost a year ago with organizers finding business sponsors, volunteers and selling tickets for the race at $5 a duck or $20 for five ducks.

“Planning for the race starts in September of the prior year,” she said. “It is almost a year round effort.”

Rich Arper, chairman for the race, said the money raised from the event will go to support the community on multiple levels. Arper said about $30,000 will go to continue to support the Hazelwood YMCA Teen Center with other money going to support a host of other community needs.

Although the race did not raise as much as last year’s total of $82,000, Arper said he was pleased with the outcome and said he was grateful for the continued community support of the race.

Beagle said the event had also broken records in the area of community support.

“We just so much appreciate all of the support from the community,” she said. “We had 84 sponsors this year, which is a record, and we couldn’t do it without the thousands of people buying ducks and all of the volunteers involved.”

Beagle said she was grateful to sponsors such as Advantage Nissan who supplied the race with prizes. She also thanked volunteers such as those from Kitsap High School and the United States Marine Corps who made the race possible.

Arper said community support and spirit was always strong for the event and he felt that the spirit of another long-time supporter of the race had been present at the race.

Hank Mann-Sykes, often referred to as Mr. Silverdale for his support of the community and especially the duck race, passed away in May and was absent from the event, but Arper said he felt Mann-Sykes spirit when the ducks hit the water.

“It is almost like Hank gave us a sign when that wind came up for us to finish in record time,” he said. “It had been calm all afternoon, and that breeze came up just as we were ready to put the ducks in the water.”


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