The fourth-annual Hays Duck Derby brought a big crowd Wednesday to the Hays Aquatic Park for the annual fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ellis County.
Jennifer Bates, northwest area manager for Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters, said 5,300 rubber ducks were “adopted” over the last several weeks, an increase of about 300 from last year.
With a countdown, bins of the ducks were emptied down the HAP waterslide into the Lazy River, with the first 500 from two heats entered into the championship race.
For the last several weeks, individuals and business could adopt ducks for $5 for one, or in groups of a gaggle, flock and colony for up to $100. Each duck was numbered with the winners earning their adoptees prizes, with the grand prize a 2016 Ford Focus SE.
Other prizes included a Sprint Center Suite for the Oct. 25 WWE Smackdown, a laptop, grill and Roomba.
The Duck Dash for kids with brightly colored and decorated rubber ducks offered prizes including an inflatable rental, season pool pass for the HAP next year, and coupons. In the Auto World Man Overboard Challenge, businesses built boats from cardboard and paddled across the lap pool for the fastest time and other awards including best of show.
The funds raised help Big Brothers Big Sisters with its goal of providing training and support for mentors for area youth.
“We have 120 matches right now in Ellis County and we have about 50 kids who are waiting,” Bates said.