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Sea of yellow ducks shines on Whaling Days

Silverdale Rotarian Damian Lonne holds up the first winning duck to cross the finish line during Sunday
Silverdale Rotarian Damian Lonne holds up the first winning duck to cross the finish line during Sunday's Great Kitsap Duck Race.
— image credit: Photo by Brad Camp

"Let's go!" one onlooker shouted.

"You can do it!" another man shouted to his duck.

A large crowd gathered along the Silverdale waterfront to cheer their yellow, sunglass-clad rubber ducks to victory Sunday afternoon.

Despite sprinkling rain and cold winds, thousands of rubber ducks braved the waters of Dyes Inlet and floated their way into the hands of Silverdale Rotarians.

Silverdale Noon Rotary Club President and Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue Fire Chief Ken Burdette said a little less than 20,000 ducks were adopted for this year's Great Kitsap Duck Race, bringing in about $82,000 for the local Rotary Club.

Burdette said the money raised through duck sales goes toward various community projects and organizations including Hospice of Kitsap County.

"The money goes back to the community," Burdette said.

He said duck sales were down this year, but the Rotary Club of Silverdale is happy with the proceeds nonetheless.

"Ticket sales were down just a little," Burdette said. "This is a tough economy right now, so we certainly understand that."

This year's Great Kitsap Duck Race took longer than usual due to an outgoing tide and wind gusts pushing the ducks away from shore. With the help of a leaf blower and waves from nearby boats, the 25,000 ducks made it to the finish line in about 15 minutes.

"This is the longest duck race ever!" one duck race watcher said as the ducks blew away from the finish line.

"The wind shifted and slowed things down a little, but it went well," Burdette said.

The crowd let out a cheer as the winning duck was hoisted into the air. Rotarians quickly bagged and escorted the duck away for safe keeping.

"I think it was well organized. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun," Burdette said.

Damon Miller of Silverdale is the owner of the winning duck. He will claim his prize — a 2008 Nissan truck or $16,000 cash donated by Advantage Nissan — at the Kitsap BlueJackets' game Friday, Aug. 1 against the Tacoma Cardinals. The game starts at 7 p.m. at the Kitsap Fairgrounds. Miller will claim his prize before the game kicks off.

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