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Duck! Incoming!

AT&T group wins 'Incredible Splash,' and will donate the $10,000 prize to charity.

October 25, 2010|By Gretchen Meier, gretchen.meier@latimes.com
  • Three-year-old Katie McGuinness of San Gabriel gets a good view of the race as thousands of rubber ducks race out of Lake Glendale for the annual Glendale Kiwanis Incredible Duck Splash at Verdugo Park.
Three-year-old Katie McGuinness of San Gabriel gets… (Raul Roa/Staff…)

Amid the quacking and duck jokes, the sixth annual Incredible Duck Splash helped local "duck buddy" organizations such as neighborhood Boys & Girls clubs, elementary, middle and high schools and community support services for families.

Heavy machinery loaded thousands of ducks into the temporary "Lake Glendale" for each heat of the day Saturday, manned by Kiwanis volunteers and the Glendale Fire Department.

Although the majority of the ducks were presold by the charities and Kiwanis members, close to 400 ducks were adopted by day-of attendees of the event at Verdugo Park.

The McGuiness family happened to be at the park with their son and daughter for a birthday party and decided to buy each child a duck for the races.

Three-year-old Colleen was bubbling with excitement before the second heat of ducks was released.

"I want to see the ducks!" she said while jumping up and down while her 1-year-old brother tried to climb into Lake Glendale.

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After each heat, the winning ducks were scooped up by volunteers and held until the final race.

"It's nice weather for ducks," said Kiwanis club Secretary Victor Legerton before the event. "But I'm not so sure the humans will be happy about it."

The humans were just as happy as the ducks as the crowd surrounding the pool grew throughout the day, and children participated in face painting and carnival games to pass the time during the heats.

The winning duck was part of a group of ducks bought by employees of AT&T that adopted 1,200 to race in the event. The employees, who contributed $6,000 of their own money to buy the ducks, will donate their grand prize winnings, a check for $10,000, to charity.

The batch of 1,200 is the largest group of ducks ever purchased at a Duck Splash since the event began in Glendale.

The Kiwanis club will not immediately know the amount of money raised by the event, but hopes the event earns the roughly $70,000 that last year raised.

All the money earned will be distributed to the duck buddy organizations and other nonprofits the club supports.

Legerton, a Kiwanis member for the past 22 years, is responsible for bringing the Duck Splash to Glendale after attending a similar event in Canada several years before.

"I had been at a Kiwanis International conference and a club in Ottawa, Canada, had duck races to raise funds for the local children's hospital in eastern Ontario," Legerton said. "It was very successful, and they would raise half a million dollars in a year."

Legerton hopes that in time the Glendale Kiwanis Club will be able to reach that goal.

"The economy has been a damper on the goal the past two years," he said. "But I know we'll get past that."

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