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Rubber duck race makes splash on Shelter Island

More than 200 rubber ducks were thrown into

More than 200 rubber ducks were thrown into the waters of Chase Creek as spectators cheered on their favorites at the inaugural Shelter Island Chamber of Commerce Duck Race on Sunday. (Aug. 19, 2012) Credit: Michael Cusanelli

It was over in nearly five minutes.

Spectators stood on the shores of Chase Creek on Shelter Island, pointing and shouting as they watched the tiny yellow racers float toward the finish line.

At stake: hundreds of dollars in prize money for the winner.

But this wasn’t Belmont Stakes – it was a rubber duck race.

With shouts of “Go ducks!” and a large splash, more than 200 rubber ducks bobbed to victory during the Shelter Island Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural duck race on Sunday afternoon.

The funds raised from the event will go toward next summer’s July Fourth fireworks show on Shelter Island.

“We thought it was a good way to bring people down to the shopping area,” said Barbara Bloom, 58, chamber of commerce secretary.

More than a hundred parents, grandparents and kids watched eagerly as the group of ducks were dropped from the bridge and floated quickly toward the finish line.

“She’s excited because she’s never seen a rubber duck race before,” said Julie Harding, of Manhattan, who brought her husband and 7-year-old daughter to see the race.

The rubber duck race enthusiasts paid $20 to get their ducks in the race. The first-place winner received 10 percent of the day’s profit, with second and third place winning 5 percent and 2.5 percent.

Shelter Island resident Amber Williams was the owner of the winning duck. She received a grand prize total of $408 for the race.

“I’m really happy because I have to write a tuition bill tonight,” said Williams, 50. “I’m tempted to go shopping but the tuition has to be paid.”

“It’s just something fun to do with the kids,” said Lina Friezo, 29, of Westport, Conn., who came to the duck race with her husband and three children.

Chamber of Commerce director Heather Reylek says she hopes to make the race bigger and more exciting each year.

“It’s a fun day,” said Reylek, 59, of Shelter Island. “It’s something new.”

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