Rubber Ducky Race returns as VNA fundraiser

Teresa Ristow

— A former Yampa Valley Medical Center fundraiser that pits rubber ducks against each other in a race down an eight-block stretch of the Yampa River will return this year thanks to the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association.

The annual Rubber Ducky Race began in 1988 as a fundraiser for the hospital organized by YVMC Auxiliary volunteers, who carried on the event through the 2012 race.

YVMC staff organized the race in 2013 but decided to take a break from the event last year to focus on other fundraising opportunities.

“Passing the event on to the VNA was a natural choice,” YVMC CEO Frank May said in a news release. “We are pleased it will continue for the benefit of the health of residents in Northwest Colorado.”

While historically the event has only taken place in Steamboat, the VNA will host races in both Moffat and Routt counties this September.

Participants buy a ticket for $10 to sponsor one of thousands of ducks and are then eligible to win part of $5,000 in cash prizes, according to Suzi Mariano, director of marketing and development for the VNA.

After 20 years of holding a golf tournament fundraiser for the VNA’s hospice and palliative care programs, the organization was eager to take on the Rubber Ducky Race.

“It was a great opportunity for us to transition away from the golf fundraiser and take this over,” Mariano said.

The fundraiser is appealing to VNA staff because at a cost of only $10 to sponsor a duck, all members of the community have the opportunity to participate, Mariano said.

“The reason we’re so excited about doing this is that everybody can participate in this — our clients, our staff and our donors,” she said.

The races will take place Sept. 5 in Craig and Sept. 12 in Steamboat.

Steamboat’s race will end near the Art Depot and will include additional activities and food vendors at West Lincoln Park. The VNA is seeking vendors who may want to set up and sell food. Those interested can call Mindy Fontaine at 970-871-7609.

The VNA is also encouraging business or corporate sponsors to get involved by purchasing larger, 10-inch ducks to decorate and submit for a ducky beauty pageant following the race.

All proceeds from the event will go to the VNA’s Hospice and Palliative Care program, which has served Routt and Moffat counties for more than 20 years.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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