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Ducks dawdle to the line in Pa. derby

August 12, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Four-year-old Collin Blubaugh was sure his duck would break away from the pack and cross the finish line first in the American Cancer Society's annual Duck Derby Sunday.

"I just know the first two are ours," Collin said.

His brother, Parker, 7, was a little more skeptical.

"No, we won't win," he said.

Trish and Jodi Blubaugh, of Greencastle, brought their two sons and daughter, Shanelle, 6, to the Duck Derby for the first time Sunday.

"It's fun for the family and a good cause," Jodi Blubaugh said.

Hundreds gathered along the banks of the Conococheague Creek Sunday afternoon to watch about 1,900 of the little rubber ducks float downstream at the Greencastle Sportsman's Club.

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The American Cancer Society of Franklin County was poised to raise close to $13,000 from the 13th annual fund-raiser, said Holly Burkett, income development specialist for the cancer society.

Sunday was also the first time Rod Hunsecker and Wanda Baughman, of Chambersburg, Pa., decided to check out the Duck Derby.

"I was in McDonald's and the guy waiting on me asked if I would buy a duck," Hunsecker said. "I decided to buy one for my granddaughter."

The couple kept pace with the ducks as they floated downstream, much to the delight of their granddaughter, Caitlin Hunsecker, 3,

"Which is my duck?" Caitlin wanted to know as the clump of yellow ducks passed by.

Brett Hazel said he has been coming to the Duck Derby for the last few years because he has seen first-hand how the American Cancer Society has helped his father, who has cancer.

Hazel, his wife Marlynda, and their children, Tyler, 2, and Kaylee, 6 months, set up their perch immediately in front of the finish line and watched as the ducks, most of them on their sides, ended the one-third-mile journey.

Boy Scouts from Greencastle dumped the ducks in the water at the start and helped to move them along by tossing forward stragglers and creating a current. They also kept the ducks from beaching on debris and along the banks in the foot-deep water during the race, which lasted about 20 minutes.

This is the first time the American Cancer Society held the fund-raiser at the Sportsman's Club, but Burkett said the location worked out well. Previously, the race was held at Martin's Mill Covered Bridge, just downstream.

Burkett said she was hoping to raise $13,000 from the sale of ducks and T-shirts, although duck sales were down from last year.

For a $5 contribution to the American Cancer Society, donors were given a number corresponding to one on the bottom of a duck.

The funds go toward all American Cancer Society outreach, including research, advocacy and educational programs.

The first 27 ducks that came across the finish line won prizes ranging from $500, donated by Citizens Bank, to a mountain bike from Family Cycling Center and gift certificates to Red Lobster, Cracker Barrel, Bonanza and other stores and restaurants.

The owners of the last duck across the finish line received two large pizzas from Pizza Hut.

Few winners were there to claim their prizes, but they can be picked up this week, Burkett said.

For more information, contact the American Cancer Society of Franklin County at 717-264-4412.

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