ESTES PARK – After months of planning and preparation, The Rotary Club of Estes Park will set thousands of ducks free for their annual swim on Saturday, May 2. The 2015 race, with its mascot Ranger Lucky Duck, honors Rocky Mountain National Park’s Centennial. Park staff will pull the rope that sends the ducks into the water at Nicky’s Steakhouse, 1350 Fall River Rd, Estes Park, at 1 p.m. The ducks will paddle for 61 Estes Valley charities, with each netting 95% of the proceeds of every adoption form they sell.
Thanks to a new partnership with The Stanley Hotel, 500 Zombie Ducks will swim alongside the regular yellow friends. The Stanley has donated $5,000 in matching funds in addition to selling adoption forms. Bubba, the hotel’s unofficial mascot, is expected to break away from the weekend horror film fest to make an appearance on race day.
But, there is so much more in store for donors than helping local charities! The major prizes for this year’s race guarantee a dream trip for the three winners.
• A seven-night cruise to the Caribbean or Alaska or seven nights in Hawaii (Up to $6,000
• A four-night stay in Riviera Maya, Mexico at Walt Disney World (Up to $3,000 for two
• A three-night stay in San Francisco or New Orleans (Up to $2,000 for two travelers)
All of the major prizes include airfare from Denver and round-trip transportation to hotels. Columbine Travel in Estes Park will arrange the trips.
“This is an all-time record for major prizes in the Duck Race,” said 2015 “Big Duck Ken TeSelle. “We are so very grateful to our 31 major financial sponsors for funding these prizes. A list of our major sponsors is on our website at www.epduckrace.org,” he said.
In addition, each adopted duck represents a 1 in 10 chance of winning one of nearly 600 merchant-donated prizes. More than 200 area merchants and non-profits are contributing a variety of prizes, which will be randomly awarded as the ducks cross the finish line.
“We have everything from lodging rooms to rodeo tickets, retail merchandise, meals, horseback rides, cinnamon rolls and an RMNP tour,” said Jack Vaughan, who helped wrangle the prizes. The average prize value is over $47, Vaughan said. The prizes range from $20 to over $300. “This, too, is an all-time record,” Vaughan added. Family events are scheduled throughout the day at Nicky’s, (10 a.m. – 1 p.m.) Riverside Plaza (12-4 p.m.) and Bond Park (10 a.m.-3 p.m.). Everything from caricature art and face painting to a Duck Squat raffle, live music, and sale of duck-themed items awaits race day guests.
The Bond Park location is new to the race this year, and will feature music, an open-air photo booth, food sales, a bounce house, face painting and more. “In collaboration with Visit Estes Park and the Town of Estes Park, we are able to offer more family fun and entertainment at Bond Park for this year’s race,” said Rene Moquin, 2015 “Little Duck”. Visitors arriving on race day will be able to purchase adoption forms until noon at several locations, including:
• Bond Park, representatives of 2015 beneficiaries will assist sales. Bond Park is on Elkhorn Ave. near Town Hall
• Estes Park Visitors Center, 500 Big Thompson Ave., special sales table will be set-up
• Nicky’s Steakhouse, 1350 Fall River Rd.
• The Wheel Bar, 132 E. Elkhorn Ave.
• Macdonald Bookshop, 152 E. Elkhorn Ave.
• Inkwell and Brew, 150 E. Elkhorn Ave.
Adoption sales are also available online at http://www.epduckrace.org and in person at Duck Central, 541 Big Thompson Ave. Unit E, in Lower Stanley Village. Duck Central is open this week from 12-5 p.m. daily. Duck Central is closed to the public on race day to allow volunteers to process hundreds of last minute adoptions. So how does this all happen? It takes a committee, TeSelle said. “I’ve had a tremendous group of enthusiastic volunteers this year. Their energy has been inspiring and their willingness to support new ideas will make this 27th annual Duck Race an exciting event.”
Visit Estes Park Duck Race for more information.