It’s been running for years but as far as the Tamworth Lions blokes are aware they haven’t yet lost a duck down the Peel River under their captaincy – and they expect the same result again this year.
On Saturday the club will release another 1700 ducks into the wilds of the river for the 23rd Great Country Music Duck Race, and it will again be a sellout. The charity fundraiser is one of the older civic events on the festival calendar.
Again this year there will be big ducks and little ducks in five different races.
The Tamworth Lions Club runs the event these days and will have four corporate heats with 50 big quackers in each and 1500 small rubber duckies in the community race. Tickets for that public dash-for-cash are $5 and should sell out today if past years are any indicator.
Race committee chairman John Hook said a working bee last weekend cleaned up the race riverbanks of burrs, timber and rubbish, particularly in the stretch of the waterway under the pedestrian bridge from Bicentennial Park to Gipps St.
The cleanup is more about making it pleasant for race watchers but it also makes it less dangerous for ducks.
The race only goes about 200m from the top side of the bridge but with three cash prizes in each race, it’s a good gamble.
It is run after the cavalcade finishes and should set sail sometime after 10am. The SES and Lions retrieve the ducks at the finish line – and apart from a very few that might have come apart at the seams, most of them are recycled for another year.
In years past, where there wasn’t enough water to let the Peel flow, or in flooded bankers, the race has been run and won in a concrete mixer or in a club raffle machine and the ducks are left high and dry.
The mixer and machine are on standby just in case .
The proceeds this year will go to the RSL Brass Band and the Tamworth Pipe Band and other local charities.