By Joel Phelps
More than 2,000 ducks raced Saturday morning on a stretch of Arkadelphia’s Mill Creek.
They were the traditional yellow rubber ducks, dropped from tubs. The race began when a net holding them back was lifted by a pair of Arkadelphia firemen. Dozens of spectators in attendance at the event lined the bluff of Mill Creek to watch the grand finale duck derby. Slowly but surely, all the ducks floated to the finish line, located beneath the pedestrian bridge linking the Cliff Harris Stadium parking lot to Rab Rodgers Field.
Each duck dropped had been assigned a number from a person who “bought” the duck. The first duck to cross the finish line belonged to Pam Palmer, who went home with a South Central Connect sponsored Apple MacBook Pro as a grand prize.
All proceeds from the fundraiser will help the Percy and Donna Malone Child Safety Center to continue its services free of charge to children affected by abuse or neglect.
Stephanie Hrabal, executive director of the center, said the 2,007 ducks sold broke records and surpassed the center’s goal of 1,500 ducks. For breaking the goal, Arkadelphia Police Chief Jason “Shorty” Jackson and Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson agreed to take a pie to the face. The two “top cops” apparently had a hankering for pie, as in weeks leading up to the event they took to social media in a video promoting the duck derby event and duck sales.
“Duck sales were fantastic,” Hrabal said. “We had a great turnout.” Hrabal thanked them and the Arkadelphia Fire Department for participating, as well as the sponsors, volunteers and performers, Dance Praze and the Arkadelphia Badger Cheerleaders.
Also at the event was a Color Wars in which youth had fun dousing their peers with color-dyed water launched from balloons, water guns or just tossing the colored chalk on each other.
Prize winners other than Palmer were:
Linda Rooney, Hot Springs getaway package
Dennis Brown, FCA summer camp scholarships
Brooke Alexander, one-year gym membership to A-Town Fitness
Claudia Garcia-Moreno, family photo shoot
Collin Battaglia, Texas Rangers vouchers
Jessilyn Manes, gift basket from The Farmhouse
Jason Jackson, two tickets to Magic Springs
Valerie Martin, two 30-minute sessions at Arkadelphia Massage
Bob Shehane, Duck Derby T-shirt and local gift card
Carlos Feller, PDMCSC gift bag