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Duck race attracts big crowd

It was all about the fate of more than 4,000 yellow rubber ducksSaturday night as local residents nervously awaited theannouncement of the Duck Derby winners.

A computer glitch delayed the start of the King’s DaughtersFoundation Ladies League Duck Derby, but once everything was inorder the ducks hit the chute in full swim mode to the cheers ofabout 1,000 people gathered for the event.

“We had a great crowd. Everyone was real understanding,” saidSuzanne Britt, chairman of the Ladies League.

Capturing first place in the race were Terry and Pam Reid ofBrookhaven. They were the $5,000 winners, while Tom Corkern, alsoof Brookhaven, won the second place prize of $2,500.

Their ducks were the first two to make it out of the dump truck,down the chute and into a small clear tube. King’s DaughtersMedical Center Chief Executive Officer Phillip Grady plucked thewinning ducks as they crossed the finish line at the bottom of thetube.

Brookhaven resident Jerry Moore’s adopted duck brought him$1,000 as it came through the chute in third place.

Consolation prize winners were KDMC Plant Operations and AshleyPeavey, each receiving a DVD player.

Those who bought “flocks” of 20 ducks were entered into aspecial drawing for a Huffy basketball system. It went to AustinSaid, son of Mike and Melinda Said, of Brookhaven.

A separate raffle was held for an electronic game system, whichwas won by Ford Nations, the 12-year-old son of Floyd and JudyBoone of Monticello.

“He had been asking for one for Christmas,” said Mr. Boone, thefather of the only winner who was present during the event.

After all the ducks were collected in the chute and the winnerswere announced, people continued to enjoy the many activities heldon the soccer field at the Hansel King Sportsplex.

Children piled into the inflatable jumping toys while everyonelistened to the tunes coming from the main stage in the center ofthe field.

“It’s wonderful to be a part of Generations’ last show, plus getto hear music from the Rainer Brothers and the Harmony Rocketband,” said Britt about the local favorites.

WLBT weatherman and “Mississippi Roads” host Walt Grayson evenjoined in with a song as he served as the master of ceremonies.

A “smaller” crowd made a circle around a man dressed in bigshoes, an interesting hat and a painted face.

“The kids loved Inky the Clown. He was a big hit,” said Britt asshe watched the clown make balloon animals and paper wands for thedozens of children around him.

Food vendors provided plenty of refreshments for the Duck Derbyparticipants as a number of families spent the entire evening atthe sportsplex. They “oohed” and “ahhed” at the colorful sightsthat filled the sky at the end of the night during the 20-minutefireworks show.

Britt called the evening an overall success as the fund raiserbrought in an excess of $20,000 to be used for special projects atthe hospital.

She was thankful for the hard work and efforts of all who wereinvolved in the Duck Derby.

“This derby would not have been possible without the support andendless hard work of the Ladies League, Willing Hearts Circle andother community volunteers,” she said.

Britt also expressed appreciation for the committee chairmen whoworked during the past few months to help pull the eventtogether.

“They lined everything up. I didn’t have to worry about any ofthe logistics because they had everything under control,” saidBritt.

She was grateful for the cooperation of the BrookhavenRecreation Department for allowing the event to be held at thesportsplex.