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United Way ducks ready to float: 20,000 ducks up for grabs, ready to float in Sept. 13 fundraiser
September 04, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen - Bob Nemnich, director of the Carpenter Center, helps number the thousands of ducks that will go into the river on Sept. 13 for the 17th annual Rubber Duck Dash.

Sales are going strong, so now is a good time to get your rubber ducks for the 17th annual Rubber Duck Dash, sponsored by the United Way of Western Nebraska.

The annual event is the major fundraiser for United Way as they support 19 agencies that meet community needs in so many different ways.

“The Duck Dash is Sept. 13, so we have less than three weeks until our feathered friends arrive,” said Jeana Allen, special events coordinator. “There’s already been a tremendous response and we expect that to build as the dash gets closer.”

Sales of the rubber ducks officially started at the Scotts Bluff County Fair. Allen said they broke a record with more than 1,000 sales during the four days United Way has a booth at the event.

“The Duck Dash always has lots of excitement, but especially this year because we have such a great vehicle for the grand prize,” she said. “After some research and discussion, we thought a larger SUV would go well in the community. I think we’re starting to see that in our duck sales.”

The first duck to cross the finish line will win a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe, donated by TEAM Chevrolet. Second prize is a 4-wheel drive Honda ATV from Sandberg Honda. Numerous other prizes are also available for the winners.

A total of 20,000 ducks are available for sale, and United Way personnel are hoping this is another year when they sell out.

As part of the run-up to the event, United Way sponsors decorate their ducks to help promote the Duck Dash. Sponsors each receive larger rubber ducks for decorating. This year’s theme is “Painting a Brighter Tomorrow.”

Allen said sponsor decorations are one of her favorite parts of the Duck Dash. “It’s really fun to see how creative our sponsors can be. We’ve had superhero themes, a race car theme, and the Mardi Gras ducks were very elaborate. Every year, our sponsors always go over the top.”

Activities for the Rubber Duck Dash start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13 at the YMCA Trails West Camp in Riverside Park in Scottsbluff. There are all kinds of kids’ games and activities for the entire family. Several United Way member agencies will also be there for people to learn about what they do. The ducks go into the river at 10:30 a.m.

Ducks are available at numerous businesses throughout the area and also from the United Way offices at 1517 Broadway in Scottsbluff. Ducks will be available for sale at the event up until post time, or whenever they’re sold out.

“It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come in 17 hears,” Allen said. “We only sold a few thousand ducks our first year and now we come close to selling our every year. And it’s amazing to see how much money we’ve raised for the good of the community.”

Prior to the main event, United Way and the Scottsbluff-Gering United Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a Quackers ‘N Cheese Business After Hours on Thursday, Sept. 11 at TEAM Auto Center in Scottsbluff from 5 – 7 p.m. The grand prize Chevy Tahoe will be on display there.

Agencies supported by United Way for the 2014-2015 campaign year include Assets Building Choices (CAPWN), Longs Peak Council of Boy Scouts of America, Buckboard Therapeutic Riding Academy, CAPstone, Carpenter Center, CASA of Scotts Bluff County, Cirrus House Transitional Age Program, Disability Rights Nebraska, Diversified Services, Inc., DOVES, Foster Grandparent Program (CAPWN), Foster Grandparent Program (NCAP), Guadalupe Center, Monument Family Connections, Panhandle Independent Living Services, panhandle Youth Shelter/Group Home (CAPWN), Scotts Bluff County Volunteer Center, Camp Scott Summer Program for Handicapped Children and the Western Nebraska Child Development Center (CAPWN).
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