LUMBERTON — The Lumber River will be duck soup on Saturday as hundreds of plastic ducks will be dumped into the water to raise money for the Robeson County Boys and Girls Club and award one lucky person up to $2,000 in cash.
Ron Ross, the club’s executive director, expects as many as 300 people at the 12th annual Duck Race, which kicks off at 11 a.m. at Stephens Park in Lumberton.
“It’s more than just a duck race, it’s a piece of a puzzle that makes the Boys and Girls Club such a strong organization,” Ross said.
Unlike other branches of the Boys and Girls Club of America, the Lumberton club only charges $1 for annual membership to children aged 6 to 18. The organization comprises more than 4,000 clubs across the country, many of which cost between $500 and $1,000 to join.
According to Ross, the Duck Race was designed to help keep the cost of membership down and usually generates about 10 percent of the club’s annual budget. More than $8,000 was raised at last year’s event.
“The money goes toward program services, and it costs about $450 a year to serve a young person,” said Ross, who has been involved with the Boys and Girls Club for 46 years. “There have been hundreds of people who have attended the club who get good grades, don’t drop out of school, and don’t get in trouble with the law. That’s not by accident. Most young people want and need proper guidance, and it’s up to us to do it.”
Before the race, participants pay $25 for a plastic duck marked with a number. The owner of the duck that crosses the finish line first will receive $2,000 if that person is in attendance, and $1,000 if that person is not in attendance.
The prize money is being donated by Coltrane and Associates and Farm Bureau Insurance of Lumberton.
Ross said that many past winners had to settle for the smaller sum because they decided to duck out on the race.
“Half the time, they’re not there,” he said. “I always hear them say ‘I never win anything, that’s why I didn’t come out.’ After they win, they always say, ‘well, next year I’ll be there.’”
Last year, the winning duck belonged to Lumberton City Councilman Robert Jones, who was on hand to collect his jackpot.
Attendees will be feted with free hot dogs and drinks during the event, which is set to wrap up at noon with a performance from the Carolina Breakers.
“It’s a great shag and beach band and they’re a great group of guys,” Ross said.
For information, call 910-738-8474.