The ducks might not be qualifying for the XXXIII Olympic Summer Games in Paris, but the Estevan Humane Society's Judy Martin Memorial Duck Derby qualified as a resounding success Sunday at Woodlawn Regional Park.

Three thousand rubber ducks were dropped off a bridge into the Souris River to see which toy would reach the finish line first, granting the person whose name was on the duck a prize of $15,000.

More than 40 minutes after the ducks hit the water, the one with Bryan Milford's name reached the finish line in front of a busy crowd enjoying the festivities surrounding the annual fundraiser.

The shelter made $15,000 from the duck sales (which sold out) and about $2,500 from food and merchandise sales at the park.

"It was a little chaotic at the beginning making sure everything was set up and ready to go," said EHS Board President Tayja Lakusta. "We went down there and the water did not look like it was moving, so it was a little stressful, wondering what we're going to do if the water doesn't move."

A few dummy ducks were thrown into the water to make sure there was enough of a current to hold the race.

"It took a while, but it did move," laughed Lakusta.

A youngster checking out the tablesPhoto courtesy the Estevan Early Years Family Resource Centre

Lakusta said it was the busiest derby she's seen, with a lot of families at the park. 

The Estevan Early Years Family Resource Centre had sensory tables and activities, Canuckcade had a bouncy castle and an ice cream truck, and the shelter was selling taco in a bag.

"To run the shelter, month-to-month averages about $20,000," said Lakusta. "We bought ourselves a month. Every little bit adds up."

Lakusta said their next big fundraiser will be the Whiskers and Wine Gala in February. They might do some little pop-ups in the time being. And the shelter will be celebrating its 30th year in 2024.

bouncy castlePhoto courtesy the Estevan Early Years Family Resource Centre

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