May 6, 2013
Duck Derby raises $20,000
Annual bright yellow flotilla benefits area youth organizations
Warm weather and a throng of a couple of hundred spectators greeted the 17th annual Corn-Ducky Derby Saturday in Suggett Park.
The 4,603 racing ducks raised about $20,000 for local youth groups through the derby, said organizer Chris Ryan, of Cortland.
Cortland Community Service Club sponsored the race.
The proceeds, raised from tickets sold for each sponsored rubber duck, are disbursed through grants, and since 2004, 28 organizations have received funding from the derby, including the YWCA, YMCA and J.M. McDonald Sports Complex.
Ryan Allyn, 35, and Brianna Timmons-Allyn, 29, of Cortland, brought their son Wyatt, 3, and Jasper, 16 months, to watch the ducks float along Dry Creek from the Hamlin Street bridge toward the finish line near a footbridge over the creek
Both parents thought that they were more excited for the derby than their children.
“(It) signifies the beginning of sunshine season,” said Timmons-Allyn.
The family had spent all morning thinking about duck names, said Allyn.
“It’s a very scientific process,” he said.
Beth and Dann Gailor of Cortland also enjoyed the race that always coincides with the Kentucky Derby with their son Seamus, 10, and his friend Isabella Wallace, 10, of Homer.
“I love watching the ducks,” said Seamus Gailor.
“Yeah that was my favorite part,” said Isabella Wallace “and hanging out with my friends.”
The Gailors made sure that they got their ducks early.
“First that they came out, we got our tickets,” said Dann Gailor.
The ducks bobbed past obstacles labeled with such names as Chicago and St. Louis.
This year’s derby had a Route 66 theme — the idea of Ryan’s 9-year-old son, Jack, said Michelle Ryan, Jack’s mother.
“You see, they love the ‘Cars’ movie, so I think that’s why,” said Michelle Ryan.
Route 66 features prominently in the 2006 Pixar flick about anthropomorphic vehicles.
Jack Ryan also waded out into the creek to direct at least a dozen ducks that had become stranded on rocks.
The props placed in and beside the creek spoofing different Route 66 sights — including Berma Shave billboards and brightly painted ducks meant to resemble Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas —were created by Chris Ryan.
Gary Gerber of Marathon had the first duck to cross the finish line, despite stiff competition from two other ducks in a near photo-finish. Gerber won $2,500.
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