What is a Rubber Duck Race?
In a rubber duck race, people who'd like to participate pay an entry fee to compete, which may include the price of the rubber duck with which they'll race. In other cases, entrants supply their own rubber ducks. On a nice afternoon, the ducks are simultaneously released into a local stream or river, and float downstream to a predetermined location. The first duck to cross the finish line is declared the winner, and often receives a donated prize.
Rubber Duck Race Planning
Though the idea of a rubber duck race fundraiser is simple, there are a few practical considerations to keep in mind. Allow at least two months for gathering supplies and signing up entrants. The ducks should all be appropriately numbered or otherwise marked so that they can be easily identified at the end of the race. If you decide that you'd like to make things easy on your participants and provide the ducks, be sure to factor those costs into your entry fees.
To keep entry fees down, set a target of how many racers you'd like to have to reach your fundraising goal -- if you'd like to raise $5000, for example, you could have a thousand participants pay $5 each, or five thousand participants pay $1 each. Determining the proper ratio is important, and in large part will be based upon your volunteers. How many do motivated helpers do you have that will be able to sign up racers at their schools, places of business, and throughout your community?
Where to Hold a Rubber Duck Race
Rubber duck races can be held anywhere you can find a nice river, but they often work best in quick running streams and creeks, where your rubber ducks are less likely to become stuck along the banks. Creeks and streams are also often more suitable for seating and spectators, and provide shallow spots for launching the ducks and collecting them at the end of the race.
The length of the course can range anywhere from a quarter mile to a few miles, depending upon the number of participants, the speed of the water, and how long you'd like people to spend at your event. You may want to do a few "test floats" beforehand to see how long it will take the average ducky to float your course.
Rubber Duck Races -- Environmental Concerns
It's important that you have some contingencies in mind for a rubber duck race, especially if you're launching a large number into a local river. Consider stringing fishing net a few feet downstream from your finish line for easy collection of the ducks, and also carefully examining the race course afterwards (either on foot or by boat) for any ducks which may have become stuck along the way. Additionally, you may want to check with local authorities for specific environmental concerns before the race.
With proper planning and some motivated volunteers, a rubber duck race can be a great fundraiser for your church or religious organization. Plan well in advance, get your motivated volunteers out there, and look forward to some great profits for charity!