Friday, May 23, 2008

Annual Duck Races Expected to Draw Hundreds

The 23rd Annual Memorial Day Loonfoot Falls Duck Race is a colorful tradition in this small Minnesota town. Dapper ducks, hand-picked from the banks of the Loonfoot River, will compete for nothing but the glory of their handlers, the love of sport, and a sincere desire to leave Railroad Park, near downtown Loonfoot Falls.

Why would anyone go to the trouble of catching a duck, just to release it in the middle of a chalk circle in Railroad Park? That's the question that people asked Arne Aagaard, whose brainchild the Duck Race is.

Aside from the honor of having one’s name put in the Duck Race Book of Fame, the handler of the fastest duck wins gift certificates worth a total of over $100, redeemable for valuable merchandise at Loonfoot Falls merchants for items including: Bag Balm®, collapsible tree stands; levamisole phosphate; snowmobile skid plates; Bert’s Best Buffalo Jerky; and hand-polished decoys from Dewey's Duck Deck.

For the more intellectually inclined, Loonfoot Falls Memorial Day celebrations include a Name That Loon contest. Identifying individual recorded loon calls is harder than it seems, as novice loon listeners soon learn.

"It's a hoot," said Arne Aagaard, asked what he thought of the race he started nearly a quarter-century ago. "The great thing is, everyone wins. The ducks get a free meal or two, and go back to Mosquito Flats. Anyone who enters a duck gets a certificate, someone gets that bunch of certificates, and stores in town get a little extra business."

- Jon Wolner, Loonfoot Falls Chronicle-Gazette

2 comments:

RockStories said...

This is startlingly reminiscent of the real coverage of the duck races in the town we reluctantly left a few years ago. The only difference is that our ducks were rubber, numbered for their "sponsors" and dumped into the river to race one another independently to a bridge at the other end of town.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

RockStories,

Thank you for the comment. (I think I've fixed the glitch you pointed out to me, over at BC - Thanks again!)

"Startlingly reminiscent?" Unintentional, but I'm not surprised. I think your rubber ducks are much more humane, myself. Thanks for sharing that - sounds like fun.

Would that be the Rubber Duck Derby of Hall County? ( http://www.rubberduckderby.com/ )

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