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Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. fundraiser 'just ducky'

August 31, 2013|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Plastic ducks are dumped in to the Antietam Creek for the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. duck race.
By Ric Dugan / Staff Photographer

FUNKSTOWN, Md. — As more than 1,500 small plastic ducks were dumped into Antietam Creek for the annual Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. duck race, Terry Gossard, who entered seven ducks in the race with his family, watched with a sense of pessimism, noting that his family had not won anything despite taking part in the race for five years.

By the end of the race, they had a pink duck finish first and another duck finish third, which awarded them prize money of $400.

“I’m shocked! We didn’t expect it,” Gossard, 73, shouted after he won.

He entered the race with his wife, Judy; his son, Terry Jr.; and his daughter-in-law, Lisa.

“A friend of mine said we should buy a lottery ticket,” Judy Gossard said. “We have to splurge.”

Before the race, Gossard said the family just went to the race for the atmosphere, but never expected to win anything.

“It’s just a fun thing to do on a Saturday afternoon,” he said.

It took barely half an hour for the first duck to cross the finish line at the 14th annual duck race, which began Saturday at 2 p.m.

The ducks, which could have been blue, yellow or different shades of pink, had number markings on them for each person or group they represented. They were dumped into Antietam Creek from the Frederick Street bridge going into Funkstown. The race ended on the other side of the old bridge, behind the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co.

Three members of the fire company — one in a raft, one in a canoe and one in a life jacket swimming in the creek — acted as “guides” for the ducks, helping any of them that got caught in rocks or sticks.

By the time they went under the old bridge and reached the rapids on the creek, however, no help was needed. Spectators and members of the fire company scooped up the ducks as they crossed, and Dave Harman of the fire company called out the numbers of the first few ducks.

“1340!”

“235!”

“1333!”

The fundraiser for the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. was expected to generate a $3,500 to $4,000 profit, said Larry Iseminger, first vice president of the fire company. Individual ducks were sold for $5 and could be sold in groups of seven for $25.

Iseminger said the event is probably the most fun fundraiser that the fire company holds.

“You get to get in the creek, get wet, the little kids really seem to like watching the ducks float down the stream,” he said. “It’s pretty much a family event and a pretty good time.”

Prizes were given for the first 25 ducks that crossed the finish line. The first-place winner was awarded $300, second place got $200 and third place received $100.

Iseminger said the company bought the ducks and mailed a notice to all of the residents in its response area asking them to buy ducks.

“The community seems to like it, and it’s not a great deal of work,” he said.

Local residents brought their families out to watch the race, even if they did not enter it.

Schuyler Feiser of Funkstown brought his son and two nephews to watch it.

Feiser, 22, said they have watched the race the past couple years despite not entering it.

“It’s fun for the kids and something to do with them,” he said.

Denise Durboraw, 22, of Funkstown entered five ducks in the race with her two children.

“I like the beginning and the end of the race,” she said. “The end is nice because you have the little rapids, anticipation, and everything speeds up.”

Durboraw’s son, Trenton Trail, 11, said he likes watching the ducks get dumped into the lake.

“I like how the ducks go in and they all pile up,” he said.

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