Cooper with winning duck

Published 4:39 pm Tuesday, May 12, 2009

In a somewhat unceremonious fashion, 5,000 yellow rubber ducks were dumped into the Flint River Saturday afternoon as part of the inaugural River Town Days Rubber Ducky Dash for Cash.

In approximately 10 minutes, the winning duck—owned by Tony Cooper—crossed the finish line first. Unfortunately for Cooper, his numbered duck wasn’t the one with the chance to win the $1 million.

Instead, Cooper is the winner of 5,000 bucks, thanks to his lucky duck.

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Cooper said Monday that he purchased eight tickets, but wasn’t able to come Saturday to the duck race.

After Cooper’s duck, the second-place duck was owned by Amanda Inlow, who will receive a submarine sandwich per week for 52 weeks from Port City Deli; third-place, Delia Franklin, who won four Atlanta Braves tickets; fourth-place, Donna Tomlin, who won a pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses from Bainbridge Vision; fifth-place, Bridget Whitaker, who won a $210 gift certificate from Marlene’s Florist; and sixth-place, Bob Coker, who won a year’s membership to Curves; seventh-place, Marie Hendrie, who won dry cleaning from Five Points; eighth-place, Winfred Lobe, who won a portrait by Susan Barnard; and ninth place, Ruby Burke, who won a $30 gift certificate from Memorial Hospital’s gift shop.

Shirley Williams had the duck predetermined to be worth $1 million if it had raced to first place. Instead, Williams was given $100 in Bainbridge Bucks.

“I think it went great,” Chamber of Commerce President Evelyn Clay said Saturday following the duck race. “People seemed to be enthusiastic about it.”

The banks of the Flint and the Chamber deck were full of people watching as a big bag of ducks were dumped from the back of Al Collins’ fishing boat. The organizers had hoped to use the City of Bainbridge’s new ladder truck, but didn’t.

The small, yellow ducks floated down a 100-yard course of floating rope that funneled the ducks into a chute where Matt Palmer was there to pluck first-arriving ducks out of the water. The numbers on the bottom of the winning ducks were matched with the pre-printed tickets.

After the winners were determined, volunteers in boats, personal watercraft and a kayak scooped up the remaining ducks out of the river. A couple of ducks completely escaped though.

Clay said all 5,000 tickets were sold, which allows the Chamber of Commerce to realize a $25,000 gross profit from the rubber duck race, which replaced the annual auction.

“I call that a successful event,” Clay said. “We had a greater response in sponsorships than in years past.”

As far as the size of the crowd, it was hard to gauge since some of the activities were eliminated and others were added.

Place to shop

The rummage sale produced some happy bargain shoppers again this year.

During last year’s rummage sale, Helen Hall of Bainbridge had purchased a large four-wheel pull cart, and this year she used it to haul her rummage purchases around. Inside this year were two elephants, a ceramic chicken, two pillows, purses, jewelry, a cake and a pie.

“I’m steady buying … This has been the place to buy,” said Hall, as she was pulling out a dollar bill to make another purchase. She had spent approximately $100 Saturday morning.

Karen Crabblee of Bainbridge was also thrilled, except she was happy for the sale of her items.

Sold was a large sofa, a chair, “good” china and other several tabletops of items.

“I’m so tickled,” Crabblee said. “I’ve had a great day.”

Rafts and pretty ducks

The raft race was won by veterans winners—Chad White, Casey Brock, Trevor Green and Cory Green, who paddled their Black Pearl the quickest across the boat basin’s boat launching area. They had won the inaugural race last year. The four, who called their team the Climax Paddlers, were one of five non-commercial rafts joined in the race by Wal-Mart, the sole commercial entry.

Students in three classes at West Bainbridge Middle School and Jones-Wheat Elementary School will receive a pizza party for designing the ugliest, coolest and quackiest ducks, respectively.

The students of Joe Miller’s class at West Bainbridge Middle School won the ugliest duck contest with the “Eco Duck.”

The coolest duck—“Peace Duck”—was won by Rhonda Kendrick’s seventh-grade class at West Bainbridge Middle School.

The Quackiest Duck was won by Pam Oliver’s fourth-grade class at Jones-Wheat Elementary School.