The water of the lakes at Terminus Wake Park in Emerson was yellow with thousands of ducks Saturday, May 6, as the 15th Annual Duck Derby came to its exciting conclusion. Combined with the 13th Annual Duck Dash 5K and Fun Run on May 5, the two events brought in more than $100,000 for Advocates for Children. Funds were raised through duck adoptions, sponsorships, race registrations, and merchandise sales.
About 50 runners braved the chilly and damp weather to run in the Friday evening 5K, as well as more than a dozen children in the Fun Run. Along with presenting sponsor NorthSide Bank, event sponsors Gary Fox, CPA and Mockingbird Dental, and 18 t-shirt sponsors, the event raised $11,115. Top overall male finishers for the event included Christian Gough, 12, of White, 19:09; David Gierlak, 54, of Euharlee, 19:41; and Jeff Penai, 39, of Cartersville, 20:09. Top overall female runners were Ali Patrick, 26, of Cartersville, 23:38; Makenzie Stephenson, 15, of Cartersville, 24:01; and Lindsay Kirby, 31, of Cartersville, 24:50.

The weather was much more pleasant Saturday as thousands of ducks were dumped into the water at Terminus Wake Park, each carrying with it the hopes of winning $10,000 from grand prize sponsor Kennesaw Transportation, Inc. Chaired by Nicole Hughes, this year’s Duck Derby committee included Josh Brock, Danielle Graham, Abby Hooper, Tina Hudson, Lara Jeanneret, Jud McGiveran, Maurni Moss and Howard Sthay. There was plenty for the crowd to experience, including food trucks, bounce houses, games, wakeboarding demonstrations and the opening of Terminus Wake Park’s new Aqua Park attraction. Ducks, which were sold for $5 each or in various package deals, offered each person a chance to win the $10,000 or numerous other prizes. The winner of the $10,000 grand prize was Lloyd Burke.

Preceding the big event was a Very Important Duck Race with 106 entries. That package sold for $250 and offered great odds for winning a $1,000 prize. First prize of $1,000 of went to Jannette Millwood, second prize of $500 went to TI Automotive, and third prize of $250 went to Jackie Best. TI Automotive and Best both donated their winnings back to Advocates for Children.

Various sales teams throughout Bartow County sold ducks to family, friends, vendors, clients, and customers. Many of the 33 sales teams exceeded their self-determined goals, including top performers Advocates staff members, NorthSide Bank, Gerdau, and Vista Metals.


Seven local high school seniors competed for a $5,000 cash prize sponsored by Georgia Bank & Trust/Synovus. To be eligible, these seniors had to sell at least 500 ducks. Three of the seniors met this requirement, and Woodland High School senior Leah Hill outsold her competition, selling 2,153 of the ducks. She was followed by Maggie Philliber of Cartersville High School and Woodland High School senior Hunter Hardin. Combined, these seven high school seniors sold nearly 34 percent of the more than 18,000 ducks adopted.

Money raised from both events benefits Advocates for Children and its efforts to prevent and treat child abuse in all its forms. The Bartow County-based nonprofit provides direct care to children from birth to age 18 who have been victims of abuse and neglect. In addition, the organization offers preventive and educational programming that focuses on crucial elements of family wellness.

For more information about Advocates for Children, call 770.387.1143 or visit