Vail Duck Race Vail Rotary’s 20th Annual ‘Fun-raiser’

12,000 Ducks race in the Gore Creek

The Vail Rotary holds this signature event each year which happens to be its biggest fundraiser. Hosting this event on Sunday of Labor Day weekend gets local and visitors to Vail excited in jest while knowing their participation is benefiting local and international causes.

The ducks start at the Covered Bridge in Vail Village and race as it floats down to the International Bridge. Each duck has a registered number written with a permanent marker. These ducks are not sold but adopted. The first duck reaching the finish line wins $5,000 for the person who adopted it. Local businesses donate prizes for the subsequent winners.

The funds raised through this annual fundraiser, allow Vail Rotary to support local non-profits and worthy international projects benefiting children and basic human needs like water and sanitation.

Spectators from above and below
Braving the rapids
Making their way in
Waiting for the winning duck.
Duck # 11441
The silhouette behind the race
At the finish line

Numerous volunteers from Rotary and non-profits in and around the Eagle Valley help to organize, market, sell to duck adopters, prepare the logistics, execute the race, collect, clean, and store the ducks each year. Their collective effort enables the noble work to be carried out locally and internationally.

Team of volunteers recording the winning numbers written on the ducks.
Winner’s row
We are one!
Flatten but made the finish line
You're free to wear a duck on your head in Vail, and even in Minnesota, it is NOT illegal.
After race spontaneity - “Why wouldn’t we be surrounded by a sea of ducks!”
Watching the duck race “Right here in Vail!”
The dunk …
… and up!
PSI has used the yellow duck on all their vehicles, website, and brochures since their inception!
A little Kumbaya before duck collection
Raking in the ducks
Numerous volunteers collecting all the “race ducks”
Laundry baskets are best to collect ducks
Duck, duck, go now
Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, & morally straight.
Vail’s Fire Chief, Mark Novak with SteamMaster’s Tim Herbst staying to secure the last duck.
Rotary’s motto
Bill Wilto, the last man out after the race ensures everything placed for the event is removed.
Matt Scherr and son Duncan, amongst the duck gathering crew waves “See you at next year’s race!”
Created By
Raj Manickam


Photos: © 2021 Raj Manickam | Allingoodlight.com Credit: Vail Rotary | VailDuckRace.com