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Dashing ducks

Chilly crowd gathers for annual Great Calusa Rubber Duck Race

March 6, 2013
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

Despite the cold weather, a crowd still gathered around Monroe Canal Saturday afternoon to watch 3,000 ducks swim to the finish line during the Great Calusa Rubber Duck Race.

Bokeelia residents BJ and Rick Austin held the winning ticket for duck #1822, which arrived at the finish line first.

"I have bought tickets for five or six years," BJ said, adding that this is the first time she attended the event, which was also the first time her duck won the race.

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Three thousand rubber ducks were dumped into the Monroe Canal Saturday afternoon during the Great Calusa Rubber Duck Race.

The couple was very excited about winning the first place prize, an offshore fishing trip for four people with Capt. Steve Woodard. The prize has a $2,000 value.

Ken Pleat, who helped sell tickets for the race, sold the winning ticket to the couple.

"I think it went really well for the weather," Pleat said of the event. "It really ended up being a beautiful day."

As the spectators sat and stood on the deck of Woody's Waterside and gathered on the dock closer to the water, they cheered for their numbered duck to float to the finish line first.

"Overall it went really well, everyone had a good time," he said.

The event also included a 50/50 raffle and a silent and live auction.

Jeannie Glenn, who worked the silent auction during Saturday's event, said despite the cool weather and wind, they did very well. She volunteered her time to help gather donations for the auction as well as help the day of the event.

"It was great, I had a good time," Glenn said, adding that she even talked two of her friends into donating their time as well.

She said she will volunteer her time again next year because it is for a great cause.

The annual Great Calusa Rubber Duck Race is the Calusa Land Trust biggest fund-raiser of the year.

"We need to keep our Pine Island the way it is," Glenn said. "It's a gem."

She said Pink Wesorick and Pleat did a really good job with the event. Glenn said Wesorick put many long hours into organizing the event, which she has done for many years.

"I give her a lot of credit," she said of Wesorick.

Wesorick said the people came out to the event because they support the island.

"A good time was had by all," she said.



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