Slow pace wins Vernon duck race fundraiser

Ron Reitsma of the Kalamalka Fly Fishers Club leads the parade of four bins filled with $1,000 rubber ducks each for the Vernon Lions Club’s Ducks For Dogs Race Saturday, June 25, in Vernon’s Polson Park. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)Ron Reitsma of the Kalamalka Fly Fishers Club leads the parade of four bins filled with $1,000 rubber ducks each for the Vernon Lions Club’s Ducks For Dogs Race Saturday, June 25, in Vernon’s Polson Park. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Members of the Kalamalka Fly Fishers Club release 4,000 rubber ducks into the Polson Park pond Saturday, June 25, signifying the start of the Vernon Lions Club’s Ducks For Dogs race/fundraiser. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)Members of the Kalamalka Fly Fishers Club release 4,000 rubber ducks into the Polson Park pond Saturday, June 25, signifying the start of the Vernon Lions Club’s Ducks For Dogs race/fundraiser. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
The Fly Fishers were also responsible for the current in the pond to help the ducks along. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)The Fly Fishers were also responsible for the current in the pond to help the ducks along. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
The winning duck is scooped out of the pond after having crossed the finish line first. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)The winning duck is scooped out of the pond after having crossed the finish line first. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon Lions Club members Sharon and Ken Cain (second and third from left) present a cheque of $21,531 to Bill Thornton (right) and trainer Joel (left) of BC and Alberta Guide Dogs. The money was raised from the Lions’ Ducks For Dogs fundraiser race. (Contributed)Vernon Lions Club members Sharon and Ken Cain (second and third from left) present a cheque of $21,531 to Bill Thornton (right) and trainer Joel (left) of BC and Alberta Guide Dogs. The money was raised from the Lions’ Ducks For Dogs fundraiser race. (Contributed)

Slow and steady wins the race was never more true than on a hot summer afternoon in Vernon’s crown jewel.

Close to 100 people gathered at the pond in the centre of Polson Park Saturday afternoon, June 25, for the Vernon Lions Club’s Ducks For Dogs race, where members of the Kalamalka Fly Fishers donned hip waders and eased their way out into the murky water to release 4,000 numbered rubber ducks into the pond.

First duck across the finish line at the end of the pond won $1,000. There were also prizes for the second- and third-place ducks, and a $100 prize to the owner of the numbered duckie that came in last.

(The original plan was to release the ducks into Vernon Creek but season$ably high water levels and current made organizers go to Plan B.)

It took nearly 30 minutes – helped along by, er, “current” created on the windless, steamy afternoon by members of the Fly Fishers – to inch the ducks from the starting point, the Ogopogo statue in the middle of the pond, to the finish line at the northern end.

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP Supt. Shawna Baher and Vernon Fire Rescue Services Lt. Allyson Reich were waiting with nets to pluck the first three ducks across the line.

Lions members sold the ducks for $5 each to raise money for the B.C. and Alberta Guide Dogs to provide another service dog for an autistic child. All 4,000 rubber duckies sold, and more than $21,500 was raised.

SilverStar Mountain Resort matched every ticket sold with a $1 donation ($4,000).

The four-hour day will feature family-friendly games, a fish pond, the Lions Club’s food truck on-site for lunch, the Kalamalka Caring Klowns and entertainment by the Vernon Community Band.

William Thornton of B.C. & Alberta Guide Dogs and his dogs led blindfolded people through a maze to experience the sensation of being blind.

Service dogs provide help to persons requiring assistance with the ultimate goal of creating stability and self-reliance. There are many types of service dogs, trained specifically to assist persons with various disabilities: blind and visually impaired, autism support dogs for children with profound autism and PTSD service dogs for veterans and RCMP.

It takes $35,000 to raise and train these dogs for specific needs, and the Lions are hoping to raise enough for a dog for a Vernon boy with autism.

The winners were: 1st place, $1,000, Duck #3278, Ingrid Bester, Vernon; 2nd place, $500, Duck #1936, Courtney O’Farrell, Armstrong; 3rd place, $250, Duck #1328, Travis Potts, Vernon; Lame Duck, $100, Bill Graham, Armstrong.

(This story has been updated at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, June 28, to include the winners)

READ MORE: Ducks race for dogs in Vernon

READ MORE: Vernon Lions looking to unload empties


@VernonNews
roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CommunityfundraiserVernon