Ducks race for good cause at Jasper pool

Allen Laman/The Herald


JASPER — A wave of pink, yellow and blue shot down the twisty water slide at the Jasper Municipal Swimming Pool, as nearly 500 plastic duckies raced for prizes — and a good cause.

The long-running Patoka 2000 duck race migrated to that new location on Thursday morning, marking a stark change in scenery from the usual raceway that runs on the Patoka River near the Dave Buehler Plaza at the center of the Jasper Riverwalk.

That quirky race has been part of Jasper’s Strawberry Festival for years. But due to the fest’s pandemic-related cancelation in May, the contest was bumped back and relocated.
Like always, however, the funds raised will still go toward sprucing up the community.

“The proceeds from this event are used to beautify the city of Jasper,” said Judi Brown, a Patoka 2000 committee member. “So, the flowers that are on the Third [Avenue] bridge, they’re all purchased [by] Patoka 2000, and then the other funds are used for the tree giveaway and other items that benefit the community.”

Patoka 2000 is a Jasper Chamber of Commerce subcommittee that strives to beautify the area. Sponsoring a duck costs $5 — three ducks could be claimed for $10 — and while a finish line was designated in the swimming pool, the ducks bolted past it as they slammed into the water, and the race’s six winners were ultimately decided by random selection.

The plastic toys clinked against each other as they were dumped from baskets and whipped down the slide. Those who sponsored the tiny, fake duckies were eligible for prizes, too.

Of the 494 entrants, first place walked away with a $250 Downtown Jasper shopping spree, second place received a picnic table donated by Krempp Lumber, third and fourth places each walked away with $100 from Bob Luegers Buick GMC and Uebelhor Chevy Cadillac respectively. Fifth place got a $50 gift certificate from Olinger Diamond Center and sixth received swag from Jasper Engines & Transmissions.

“I think people really enjoy it on the river, but this is a nice alternative if we have a rainy day or stormy day,” Brown said of racing at the pool in the future.

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