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THE HIGHLANDER FESTIVAL AT TAM O’SHANTER PARK

The Rotary Club of Kelso is happy to announce that its “ 32nd Annual Quacker 5000 Rubber Duck Raffle” is happening September 12, 2021 at The Highlander Festival at Tam O’Shanter Park in Kelso after taking a year off due to the pandemic.

What is the Kelso Rotary Quacker 5000 Rubber Duck Raffle?

The Rotary club of Kelso will race 4,000+ tagged rubber ducks down the chute of a cement mixer filled with water (and rubber ducks) on September 12, 2021 at The Highlander Festival at Tam O’Shanter Park in Kelso, WA. If you “adopt” a duck by buying a $10 ticket and your duck is the first to cross the finish line out of the chute, you win $5,000 cash. Runners up receive various other prizes. You don’t have to be present to win.

Why Adopt a Duck?

When you adopt a duck you help support our many community projects to benefit the youth of our community including:

  • Providing scholarships to local high school graduates
  • Catlin Rotary Spray Park
  • Kelso Rotary Skate Park
  • Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library which is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by gifting books free of charge to children from birth to age

Can I Adopt More than One Duck?

Absolutely! This event is about generosity and benefiting our community. We hope you’ll adopt a whole flock! Ducks may be adopted for a donation of $10 per duck.

What is the History of the Duck Raffle?

The Kelso Rotary Duck Raffle was started in 1989 by Don Lemmons who was president of Kelso Rotary at that time. The idea was to create a fund raiser that was different than the standard “dinner and auction” format. Rubber Ducks from Campbell River, British Columbia were rented for the first ever Duck Raffle. Later Kelso Rotary purchased their own rubber ducks sharing them and the expense with 3 other Rotary Clubs. Today Kelso Rotary has shared ownership of the rubber ducks with the Rotary Club of Lacey, WA.

How is the Winning Duck Chosen?

Thousands of rubber ducks used to be floated down the Cowlitz River in a race for first prize. In 1989 a crane was used off the river bank above the Cowlitz Bridge to dump the rubber ducks into the river. To try and catch the ducks a Port of Longview boom was used. In 1990 the City of Kelso allowed a dump box to be hooked to the Allen Street Bridge to dump the ducks into the river.

The “ducks racing down the river” idea was troublesome as all the rubber ducks had to be chased down and picked up out of the river, with many “escaping” as far away as the Columbia River and some never to be found. A fellow Rotarian, Steve Jabusch, came up with the easier idea several years ago to use a cement mixer filled with water and rubber ducks—shooting the rubber ducks out of the cement mixer chute to find the winner.

How much is Raised in the Duck Raffle?

In 1989, the first year of the Kelso Rotary Duck Raffle around $2,000 was raised. In recent years around $40,000 is raised annually to benefit our community, by the adoption of over 4,000 rubber ducks, at $10 per duck donation.

Duck Race Julie Rinard (left) Anne Mette Smeenk (right)

How do I adopt a Duck?

Your favorite Kelso Rotarian will be happy help you adopt one or more ducks. Or you may visit www.kelsorotary.org and click on the “contact us” link with your contact information and how many ducks you would like to adopt.

Thank you for supporting Kelso Rotary.

Kelso Rotary Club is appreciative of our thousands of “duck adpoters” each year. We would also like to thank Kelso Rotarian Larry Timmons, our Duck Raffle Chairperson, plus our many generous 2021 sponsors:

Platinum Sponsors: NECA IBEW Local 48 and Renaud Electric

Gold Sponsors: State Farm/Jessica Wade, Futcher Group Certified Public Accountants, CalPortland

Silver Sponsors: Express Employment Professionals, Reprographics Printing, Waste Control Bronze Sponsors: Cowlitz County Title Co., D&C Lemmons LLC, Eureka! Engineering, Foster Farms, Jimmy John’s, Pacific Fibre Products, Pape Machinery, Domino’s, PNE Construction/CCS/ AET, RD Olson Manufacturing, Red Leaf Coffee, Superior Tire Service, Canterbury Park, Three Rivers Eye Care

The Rotary club of Kelso has been benefiting our local community since 1923, almost 100 years! Our enthusiastic members pursue creative ways to serve the needs of our community— especially children. To learn more about the Rotary club of Kelso visit www.kelsorotary.org

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