It’s duck time: Annual races kick off Saturday

ESCANABA – The 18th Annual Delta County Jaycees Duck Races are set for this Saturday in Gladstone’s Van Cleve Park.

Preliminary heats for the duck races begin at noon with the final heat held at 5:30 p.m.

“What we do is out on the lake we have several different kinds of chutes that we put plastic ducks in,” said Duck Race chairman John Bergman. Each duck that is raced corresponds to a ticket someone purchased for the event. The top finishers in each heat then compete in a final round to determine the winners of 25 prizes.

The top three prizes include $5,000 cash, a $2,000 travel package, and a $1,000 laptop computer package.

The races are followed by an Unlucky Duck Race, where smaller prizes are awarded to the winners who purchase tickets for the extra race the day of the event.

Tickets for the duck races are $5 apiece or six for $20 and are available at Gladstone City Hall, Gladstone BP, Rosy’s Diner, Delta Pub, Gibby’s Bar, Ernie’s Irish Pub, U.P. PC Repair, the Delta County Chamber of Commerce, or from any Jaycee member.

Bergman said last year’s races raised approximately $9,000 for the Jaycees, with proceeds going toward assembling Thanksgiving baskets for families in need. Any money left over is distributed to local charities in Delta County.

“In the past we’ve raised quite a bit of money through this and have given back to the community through our various charitable donations and the Thanksgiving baskets,” said Bergman.

Other events that will take place as part of the Duck Races include the 3rd Annual 5K Run, Walk or Waddle. Registration starts at 8:45 a.m. with the race beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Trophies are awarded to the best overall male and female, with medals distributed to first and second places in each division. Free refreshments will follow the race.

Also taking place is the 2nd Annual Kickball Tournament, which begins at 11 a.m. The tournament is open to co-ed teams of 10 to 14 players and costs $100 per team to participate. Registration is limited to the first eight teams to sign up.

Games must be played by five males and five females on the field. The tournament is single elimination and open to those ages 18 and older. Those interested in reserving a spot for their team, can call Caren at (906) 280-7711.

Other activities during the Duck Races include a complimentary picnic from noon to 2 p.m., kids games beginning at noon, a bean bag tournament at 1 p.m., a Very Important Duck (VID) Tent open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., and music by Madison Avenue from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

“I would encourage everyone to show up the day of,” said Bergman. “It’s a very fun event.”

For more information on the Duck Races or any of the day’s other events, visit