Duck Soup

Plastic duckies race down creek to benefit fire company

Plastic duckies race down creek to benefit fire company

August 28, 2005|By MARLO BARNHART


Turns out what they say about drizzly weather being great for ducks is true - ask any Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. member after Saturday's biennial duck race on Antietam Creek.

"By 1 p.m. Saturday, we had sold about 1,600 ducks," said Larry Iseminger, president of the company. The event is one of the company's major fundraisers.

The race got under way at 2 p.m. at the Antietam Creek bridge on Alternate U.S. 40 and ended behind the fire hall.


With years of experience under their belts, the fire company volunteers have learned some tricks to make sure the race goes smoothly. Iseminger said there always is a boat in the creek to spread the ducks out to keep them from bunching up and getting tangled along the banks.

The worst thing that can happen is if a whole bunch of ducks cross the finish line at the same time, Iseminger said.

"We did have some bunching up at the end this time," Iseminger said Saturday afternoon. He stood in creek water up to his knees armed with a clipboard and pen while volunteers called out the numbers of the winners as they crossed the finish line.

The top three cash winners were Christine Koontz, who won the $300 first prize; Leda Reynolds, who won the $200 second prize; and Shelley Sarby, who took the $100 third prize. The winner of the $300 meat raffle was Doris Long of Funkstown, Iseminger said Saturday afternoon.

The fire company pays the cash prizes. Prizes of donated goods and services were awarded for the next 36 ducks to cross the finish line.

In 2003, there were 1,830 ducks in the race. Several hundred are lost during each race, even though fencing is strung across the creek to capture most of them.

A mailing went out to everyone in Funkstown in late July announcing the race, as well as the monthly barbecue.

"We always come to the monthly barbecue," said Jack Smith, a lifetime member of the fire company who also served as chief and president for many years. He and his wife, Jane, were enjoying the pit beef sandwiches and chicken cooked right on the premises.

The smoke from the barbecue was enticing a lot of hungry travelers as the day wore on. They included Jarred Malloy, 4, who came with his mother, Kendra Sasse. Although Jarred was enjoying the meal, he couldn't wait for the duck race.

"I think my duck will win, at least I hope so," Jarred said.

Iseminger said the proceeds from Saturday's activities go into the general fund so the fire company can continue to pay its fuel costs, buy new equipment and keep the company able to protect residents and businesses in its district.

This year's race was the sixth one held. Two years ago, the event raised $5,800, Iseminger said.

The duck race is held in odd-numbered years. In even-numbered years, the volunteers spend their time updating an assessment of the coverage area they serve.

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