The Flint Journal

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.

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