CARTERSVILLE, GA – May 13, 2019: The 17th Annual Duck Derby fundraiser proved to be another successful event for the Advocates for Children organization. Overall duck sales reached 17,225 ducks before the big event on Saturday, May 11th. When combined with runners in the 15th Annual Duck Dash 5K and Fun Run, the two duck-themed events raised more than $101,000 for the organization.
Saturday’s festivities began early with the Duck Dash 5K & Fun Run at Cartersville Primary School. The inclement weather held off making it a great morning for runners to complete the 5K and for the little runners to make their mark in the Fun Run. Tyler Jones and Sherry Spinks took home the glimmering, gold duck trophies with winning times of 17:54 and 19:51, respectively.
Once the festivities for the 5K and Fun Run wrapped up, everyone headed over to Sam Smith Park for the 17th Annual Duck Derby. Where Advocates put a new race format on display. The organization built their own water race way in the middle of the park with great help from Gerdau. The organization had a total of 5 duck races on site that day. They included the VID race, three heats of over 6,000 derby ducks each, and the prize race featuring the finalists of the three prior races. Guests watched the race from start to finish as the ducks bobbed, weaved, and tumbled down the waterway.
Food vendors, Johnny Mitchell’s Smokehouse and Chuck’s Curbside, called Sam Smith Park their home for the day. Visitors had their choice between BBQ and cheesesteak sandwiches, with JMS also offering guests an assortment of beer to choose from. The Big Dipper was on site to provide a frozen treat to help beat the heat Saturday afternoon.
The highlight of the day was the selection of the winning ducks. Advocates asked Gerdau Plant Manager, Rodrigo Canova, and Vista Metals Plant Manager, Jim Stewart, to assist with the plucking of the winners. The luckiest duck of the day belonged to longtime Advocates for Children supporter and fellow duck-lover,
Susan Simonton, earning her the grand prize of $10,000. Eleven additional prizes were awarded including Braves tickets, an iPad, concert tickets, a drone bundle, a beach bundle sponsored by Country Financial, various gift cards and an impressive basket of offerings from Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Those additional prize winners are Julie Peace, Samson Salono, Alison Biles, Cathy Menerey, Frank Pratt, Jamie Row, Julie Casler-Tyrrell, Chris & Brandy Seats, Carol Anne Craton, Fincher Services, and Dan Kramer.
Preceding the main duck race was the Very Important Duck Race with just over 60 entries. The VID duck package sold for $250 and offered great odds for winning one of three cash prizes valued at $1,000, $500, and $250. The VID winners were: Chris & Brandy Seats, Phillip Ray, and Matt Sellers.
Seven local high school seniors competed in our Quacky Cash competition with one of three cash prizes presented to the students who sold the most ducks. To be eligible, these seniors had to sell at least 500 ducks and be a resident of Cartersville/Bartow County. The top spot went to Woodland High School senior, Taylor Tyree who sold 2,455 ducks. Next up was Colbi Ballard, of Cartersville High School selling 1,938 ducks, followed by Kaylee Jones, also of Woodland High School selling 1,350 ducks. Combined, the seven high school seniors contributed 9,139 ducks (53%) to the overall total.
Advocates is extremely appreciative of everyone who bought ducks, encouraged others to buy, attended the event or supported it in any way. We are particularly thankful for our event sponsors that made the event possible including Ely Corporation for co-sponsoring the $10,000 grand prize, and our Quacky Cash prize sponsors of Pro Floor Packaging and Tidwell Plumbing. We are also thankful to the Cartersville Parks & Recreation Department, Cartersville Water Department, and Cartersville Fire Department for accommodating our event while also helping us pull off the new concept in a new location. In addition to helping us with logistical concerns, CFD Fire Chief Scott Carter and several of his firefighters also generously spent some time in our dunk tank on Saturday helping us collect extra donations from participants vying to knock them in.