Rubber Ducky, you’re number one

Not all rubber ducks are created equal. Some have a natural instinct to ride currents and an unfaltering desire to float their little hearts out.

Not all rubber ducks are created equal.

Some have a natural instinct to ride currents and an unfaltering desire to float their little hearts out.

Others lose their sense of direction the moment they hit the water and end up stranded in the mud at the side of the shore.

All this was apparent Canada Day when the Rotary Club of Whitehorse put on its annual Yukon River Rubber Duck Race.

As most of us were celebrating our nation’s birthday and enjoying the good weather, 6,000 rubber ducks took to the frigid waters of the Yukon River to do their part to raise thousands of dollars for the oldest and one of the largest service clubs in the world.

“Once all the dust settles and all the bills are paid … probably more than $20,000 is raised,” said Doug Hnatiuk, past president of the Rotary Club of Whitehorse. “We sell out every year, so I guess success is measured on the fact that we have all the tickets sold prior to the race.”

The rotary club started selling $5 tickets for the race weeks ago. Each ticket had a five-digit number on it that coincided with a numbered rubber duck. After being dumped off the bridge at Rotary Peace Park where they set sail for Shipyards Park, the first five ducks over the finish line — the current champions, if you will — won five individuals $1,000.

This year’s winners are Sue Edelman, Sue Gleason, Kathleen McGovern, John Vertes and Laura Knowles.

“The Rotary Club took over the race from the Lions Club … about 10 years ago,” said Hnatiuk.

“What we do is we raise funds for international projects, things like landmine eradication, polio eradication and we’ve done some water well project in places like India. We also sponsor exchange students from all over the world,” said Hnatiuk of the club that is active in 166 countries around the world and has over 1.4 million volunteers donating time.

“As well we’ve done community projects like, obviously, Rotary Peace Park, Rotary Centennial Bridge, those sorts of projects.”

As part of a bonus competition, the first 10 ducks over the finish line were collected, giving 10 ticket holders a chance at $50,000.

Along with the five winners, five others could have won the big prize had one of their numbers been pulled in a draw. However, the unfavourable odds were substantiated, and no one took home the grand prize.

The rubber participants of the race were collected with nets at the finish line and along the shore. Although many were disappointed with their performances, all are expected to return for next year’s race.