Rose Zoellner hoped to earn the “best wife” award by winning the bright yellow 2013 Chevrolet Camaro at Saturday’s Roseburg Rotary Duck Race and giving it to her husband, Jeff.
The odds were not in the Roseburg woman’s favor given that her two rubber ducks were among 10,663 dropped into the North Umpqua River at River Forks Park.
But that didn’t matter. She was happy to help the nonprofit groups that receive funds to prevent child abuse.
“I am really more excited to support these organizations,” said Zoellner, 29. “The services are essential and needed in Douglas County.”
Roseburg resident Greg Green’s duck was the first across the finish line, winning him the Camaro donated by Clint Newell Auto Group. But many who attended the annual race said it’s the organizations that will receive the $106,630 raised that are the big winners.
“It’s a good charity, and it helps out the kids,” said Ron Covey, who operated the crane, donated by Jack Mathis Construction, that tipped a duck-filled construction Dumpster over the river.
Rotarian Brad Watkins said the goal was to sell 10,000 ducks. Not only did the event surpass that amount, it’s also well above last year’s 9,200.
Funds raised will go to six organizations working to prevent child abuse — Douglas C.A.R.E.S., Battered Persons’ Advocacy, Safe Haven Maternity, Family Development Center, Court Appointed Special Advocates and Healthy Start.
Owners of the 10 ducks that made it down the river and across the finish line took home prizes.
Rotarian Sue Van Volkenburg estimated the race drew 150 to 200 people to the park, which is fewer than previous years. She attributes the drop to no longer having a barbecue organized by the YMCA.
People still enjoyed food, children’s games and visiting before the ducks were dropped at noon.
“I like the fellowship of the people,” Sutherlin resident Stan Schricker, 72, said between bites of corn on the cob.
Jenny Radmer, 36, of Suthlerin made it a family affair, bringing her children Ashley, 9, and Zack, 6, to the race.
“We buy a ticket every year, and we hope we will win, but it’s a good chance to get out with the family,” Radmer said. “And it’s for a good cause.”
“I like seeing the ducks and doing activities,” Ashley said, as she licked an ice cream cone.
A few tables down, Skiler Lewis, 20, of Medford and Douglas County sheriff’s deputy Don Martin were slurping snow cones. The two helped collect the ducks at the finish line.
“It’s a great public event,” Martin said. “And we’re glad to be part of it.”
Clinton Snow, 15, of Roseburg was among seven Mercy Medical Center youth volunteers providing carnival games for children.
“It’s a great way for families to come and have fun, to see friends and to see if you can win a car,” Snow said.
It’s a great way for families to come out and have fun, to see friends and to see if you can win a car.