Category Archives: Duckpost
Who knew you could win thousands of dollars by racing ducks for the title of the world’s speediest mallard?
Robert Duck from Bosque Farms, N.M., knew.
“Isn’t life funny? I never thought I’d be doing this,” the 50 year old said, laughing.
He and his wife are bringing 40 ducks to entertain patrons at the 2010 Genessee County Fair.
As unforgettable as it is to come across someone with race ducks, it’s even more unforgettable to carry the name Duck, too. That’s what caught the attention of media outlets across the country – from “The Tonight Show,” to People Magazine and The Wall Street Journal, which have featured the Ducks, and their ducks.
“It all started back in 1980 in Deming, NM, when they started this off-the-wall festival called The Great American Duck Race,” Duck said. “And, my name being Duck, I thought it’d be funny to enter ducks.”
Back then, he was your ordinary jewelry shop owner who happened to own two ducks on his acre of land. That first year, one of his ducks won third place out of 183 other ducks entered in the competition. The next 12 years they claimed the top spot, winning more than $50,000.
“We dominated the competition,” he said. “It was just so much fun… I thought, there’s got to be a way I can make a living off of this- I mean, I have an MBA, I’ve got to be able to figure it out.”
In 1999 he sold his jewelry business and began a traveling duck-racing show that toured the country. You can see it daily at the fairgrounds, from Monday through Aug. 22, at 11:30 a.m., 1:45 p.m., 4 p.m., and 7 p.m.
Duck explained that there will be a water track set up, with four racing lanes-each 2 feet high, 2 feet wide and 16 feet long. He’ll choose kids and adults, too, to release the ducks at the start of the race and the person who has the duck winner gets to go on to the finals. Prizes are awarded for each winner.
“Even if you don’t get to be the one who releases the duck, I promise you, you can’t watch a duck race without smiling,” he said.
Between each race guests will learn interesting facts about mallards and get to feed them.
As owner to more than 80 ducks now-including the world’s fastest duck, which swam the 16-foot track in .83 second-Duck will be bringing ducks that all have been trained to race.
There is still the burning question of can ducks really be trained.
“Yes, you can train them,” he promised.
Great American Duck Race a RioFest favorite
By Amanda Harris
Harlingen- The crowd waited in anticipation for the Great American Duck Race to begin Saturday at Duck Race Headquarters.
In the background, a duck-like voice was singing, “I’m the disco duck.”
The “Headquarters,” set up on the RioFest grounds at Fair Park, consisted of two sets of bleachers around a small pool with four 16-foot-long lanes and a caged area containing a group of mallard ducks.
Every seat was filled and there were others standing around the perimeter of the area before the 5 p.m. show began.
Then Robert Duck- that’s his actual name- walked near the pool to begin the duck races and the crowd cheered.
There were five shows Saturday with four heat races and one final race at each show, Duck said.
Four children were chosen from the audience for the first four races, and the winners competed in the final race.
During each round, Duck gave the racing ducks names, such as Obama and Hillary during the “political race,” and cartoon names during another race.
The children each held a duck at the end of the lane and released their duck into the pool.
Madison Kowalski,13, and Melissa Guajardo, 11, competed in two different races at the 5 p.m. show.
“I acted crazy and raised my hands,” Kowalski said about how she was chosen to participate.
Kowalski said the duck race was her favorite part of RioFest.
“It was hard to hold (the duck),” Guajardo said.
Six-year-old Laney Garcia competed in one of the races with the help of her mom, Gloria.
“It was soft,” Laney Garcia said.
In between the races, Duck told the crowd interesting facts about mallard ducks, and said his show is the only duck racing show in the country to educate the audience.
Duck, from Bosque Farms, N.M., owns 85 mallards and brought 33 to RioFest, he said.
Each duck is trained to race, but his training methods “are a trade secret,” Duck said.
Every year, Duck buys 100 freshly hatched ducks, trains each one and keeps the fastest 25, he said.
The rest are released into the wild, he said.
Duck said he has won more than $50,000 racing his ducks in New Mexico duck races since 1980.
FAIRGOERS FLOCK TO FOWL EVENT
By Phillip Morgan
TAMPA – Ladies and gentlemen, start your mallards!
At the quack of the caller, racing ducks flapped and splashed to the finish line Thursday at the Florida State Fair.
Amid cheers, laughter and lots of flying droplets, Jeff Korell, a tourist from Van Nuys, Calif., and 10-year-old Sean Garcia, of Tampa, tied for first place in the Great American Duck Race.
It was a moment for both to savor.
“I figured if I let it squirm before the race, it might be more energetic and want to get away sooner,” Korell said.“And my guess paid off.”
“I gave it a little push,” Sean said.
Robert Duck’s duck race – and yes, that is his real name – is one of the free events at the fair, which ends Monday night after a 12-day run.
Attendance as of Tuesday was down from last year, a fair spokeswoman said.Organizers attributed the weaker turnout to the cold weather.
Duck’s act is one of the new events this year.He and his wife, Kathy, have been traveling the fair circuit since 1999 with Chase, their herding border collie, and a couple dozen fowl friends (33 this week).
He closed his jewelry business and started the show after racking up $50,000 over the 12 years of competing in the original Great American Duck Race in Deming, N.M.
His celebrity – and his name – got him an appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”
Alas, his special way with ducks finally caught up to him.Great American Duck Race officials changed their BYODuck rule and Duck’s ducks were out of business.
Now he gets 100 ducklings a year from a hatchery – “If they didn’t go to us, they would go to a hunting lodge” – and trains them to race using their natural instinct to flap back to the flock.After enough repetitions, the ducks “start having fun with it,” as Duck says, and race whenever they’re released.
He keeps the fastest 25 or so and sets free the rest in the Rio Grande.After a year or two, he releases the performers and replaces them.
He opens by having Chase herd the ducks from their cage to an enclosure near the starting line.Duck lines up four audience members and hands each a duck, sometimes making up a name for the animal.
He named one Duck Cheney.“Or maybe I should say ‘Duck! Cheney!” he joked, crouching for the effect.
Korell said of course he plans to brag about his victory when he returns to Van Nuys.
“Not many people have won duck races there.There’s very little water; it’s all desert.”