Annual duck race goes on as planned

COEBURN, Va. - There are some Labor Day celebrations that can be held rain or shine, and we found one.

It's an annual rubber duck race at the Guest River Rally in Coeburn, Virginia.

It's a fun way for the town's volunteer fire department to raise money.

The crowd is a little sparse for the final day of the Guest River Rally celebration in downtown Coeburn.  It includes a fair, food and face painting for the kids and lots of locals raising funds for their cause.

One of the more popular was the volunteer fire department selling entries in their annual duck race, now in its 17th year.

"It started off we sold 480 ducks our first year, I believe. We gave away 250 dollars as first place and I think 100 dollars second place," Brian Rose with the department said.

It's a bit of a gamble but for all who bought an entry it was all about local support.

"Anything to support our local fire department, local businesses, support our kids. We have a booth set up for the kids," said duck racer Robin Chevault.

"It goes to a good cause. And a good chance to win a prize," added duck racer Kari Stapleton.

This year that first place prize is $1,000. But the ducks won't be racing in a usual place; the creek that runs along main street is low and kind of overgrown.

"So we had to improvise and come up with something better and the only thing we had here was the fountain. So, we put a pump in the fountain. We circle them around and we have a little child draw out the prizes, draw out the ducks," Rose said.

As they approach post time, there will be nearly 700 entries this year. Finally the call to the gate by a clown and a duck call.

The track may be small but the competition is intense as the ducks bob around the town fountain. It takes a few times using an improvised fishing pole with a net to draw out this year's first place winner.

But the real winner here is the local volunteer fire department.

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