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Funkstown duck race slow and dramatic this year

August 30, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

FUNKSTOWN -- Low water in Antietam Creek made the progress of Saturday's Funkstown Volunteer Fire Company duck race a little slow, but it added to the drama of the fundraiser for spectators, both in and out of the water.

"This was one of our best years," said Larry Iseminger, who chaired the event.

In the past, the duck race was an every other year activity, but that all changed in 2005.

"We need the income," Iseminger said.

More than 1,750 of the small plastic numbered ducks were sold, either at $5 each or seven for $25. Assorted gifts also were given out to other winners.

Russell Donovan won the $300 grand prize with the first duck to cross the finish line just downstream from the historic stone bridge over the creek, which is closed to traffic for repairs.

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Jack Garvin's duck crossed the line second, earning him $200, and Marie Tolbert's duck finished third, earning her $100, Iseminger said.

Tina Jones of Keedysville, who was present Saturday, won the $300 Martin's Food Market gift certificate raffle, Iseminger said.

"We sold out of grilled chicken, beef and ham by 1 p.m.," Iseminger said.

Pat Glaeser lives nearby and came to the event for the first time.

"I read about it in a circular and thought it would be fun," she said.

Glaeser and her family members bought a total of 21 ducks.

Ken Lee and his wife, Peggy, came to support their son, Joe Lee, a volunteer with the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Company. They said they also bought several ducks.

With a loud signal on the fire company siren, the race got under way at 2 p.m. Volunteers were in the water downstream, not only to catch the winners, but to keep all of the other ducks from getting away.

Boys with pans and fishing nets were knee-deep in the creek scooping up ducks at the snow fence barrier for reuse in years to come.

Iseminger said additional volunteers were downstream to corral any "escapees."

Throughout July and August, fire company volunteer Joshua Watkins positioned himself in his wheelchair in front of Gracie's and sold chances on the ducks.

Watkins attended Saturday's duck race to witness the fruits of his labors.

"We did very well this year," he said.

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