MONTICELLO — Delayed 24 hours because of the threat of lightning, the 16th annual United Way of White County Duck Race went off without a hitch.
Volunteers gathered well before the 6 p.m. race time Sept. 4 – it had been scheduled for the same time the previous day — preparing the 1,500 rubber ducks for a massive drop into the drink — the Action River ride at Indiana Beach.
In the end, Monticello businessman Fred Pearson pocketed the top prize — $1,000 cash courtesy of First Merchants Bank. Kate Thompson’s duck was second, earning her an outdoor patio set from Furniture Warehouse, and Carroll Robertson’s duck was third, winning her four new tires from Rothrock Tire.
Nikie Jenkinson, executive director of United Way of White County, said a record number of ducks were sold this year – 1,442, even though all 1,500 were released, making it the most in “at least three years.” All told, the duck race earned more than $6,000 in revenues toward the United Way’s $200,000 goal.
“These funds directly benefit our eight partner agencies and mark the official start of the 2019 fundraising campaign," she said. “Whatever we earn between now and July 2020 will determine our budget for funding agencies and programs in the following year.”
The annual race marks the start of United Way of White County’s fundraising campaign.
“The duck race is an important fundraiser for the United Way because we have the ability to involve our community corporate partners through their in-kind donations, the public in the sales of tickets and attendance at the event, and our clients and partner agencies in use of the revenue funds,” Jenkinson said.
Agencies benefiting from United Way of White County include the Boys & Girls Club of White County, Sagamore Boy Scouts, Family Health Clinics of Monon and Wolcott, Food Finders Food Bank, CDC Resources, Literacy Volunteers, and the Council on Aging, as well as the United Way of White County’s internal programming.
Back to the race results, Hope Hill was fourth, earning a free night at Outrigger Resort; Don Koleszar was fifth and won a high-definition flat-screen television from Alliance Bank; Ruth Terria was sixth and took home a free sitting and portrait from Christine’s Photography; Troy Whitaker was seventh and won four tickets to ride the Madam Carroll; Pat Buschman was eighth and earned a lawn clean-up from D2 Lawn & Tree Service; Jack Buntin was ninth and won a water raft from Tall Timbers Marina; and Jenny Cearing rounded out the top 10 by winning a $50 Kroger gift card.
Jim Stengel, Rhonda Wooten, Judy Neilan and Drew Guingrich filled the 11th through 14th spots, respectively, and each took home a $50 Super-Test gas card.
“We are so grateful for the generosity of Indiana Beach for hosting this event and for being flexible in light of the stormy weather (Sept. 3),” Jenkinson said. “We also had huge numbers of volunteers in the race, and the board members worked tirelessly over the past two months to sell this record number of tickets.”
Participants purchased one $5 ticket for a duck or $20 for five tickets (ducks), to enter the race and compete for the 14 prizes. As each duck cross the finish line, a volunteer noted the place of finish and number on the bottom of the duck, which was in turn matched to the ticket and its owner.