What the duck is going on?

Ponderay Centennial Rotary announces new fundraising event

By Ben Olson
Reader Staff

It can happen anytime. There you are, sitting at your desk peacefully, trying to be a productive member of society when suddenly hundreds of rubber ducks are unleashed into the room by smiling Rotarians. If only there was a way to prevent this intentional “ducking.”

Wait, there is! Pay the Rotarians not to do it. It’s either sheer genius or diabolical trickery. Either way, we must learn more.

The Ponderay Centennial Rotary is always searching for ways to raise money to support its scholarship fund. In the eight years since they started giving out scholarships, they have given away over $100,000 to area students.

“Last year alone we handed out $17,400,” said J.P. Carver, who serves on the Rotary Foundation with the Ponderay Centenntial Rotary. “We’ve really increased our efforts in the last five years.”

The Rotary has sponsored the “Duck Derby” at Schweitzer for the past 13 years, which is a fundraising event where participants purchase “hunting tickets” and search for rubber ducks scattered throughout the ski hill. Skiers take found ducks to the Ponderay Rotary tent to see if they have found instant-winning ducks for a variety of prizes, including a Schweitzer ski pass and a snowmobile tour for two from Selkirk Powder Company.

This year, however, the Rotary are taking things to a new level.

Now, local business owners can pay the Rotary to unleash rubber havoc onto anyone they choose. For a $25 donation, the Rotarians will release a “small gathering” of 25 rubber ducks in the office chosen by the person who donated. Pay $50 and the small gathering grows to 50 ducks. For $100 you can send 100 ducks to an unsuspecting local business. And for a $200 donation, a “supersize gathering” of 500 rubber ducks will be released. 

For a small fee (also a donation), the office that has been “flocked” can have Rotary remove the offending ducks and return them to their wild bathtub habitats. The victim can also request the Rotary to pass the ducks along to another unsuspecting victim. And so on. If it sounds like extortion, it is.

“‘Gently ribbing’ is a much better term than extortion,” joked Carver.

What’s that? You’re too busy to deal with ducks gathering in your office? You can easily avoid a flocking by purchasing “anti-ducking” insurance for only $25, which guarantees that no gathering will happen at your location.

It’s all in the name of fun and all donations received will go into the scholarship fund.

“We are all about educating kids so they don’t get lost,” said Carver. “We want them to know their passion, their direction. Sometimes they need to have some support to get started.”

Carver said the Ponderay Rotary has done everything from sending kids to deep sea diving school to medical school, to liberal arts colleges and vocational technical institutes. 

“We even sent one student to welding school,” he said. “It’s all across the board. In a sentence, education is our goal.”

The Duck Derby is the Ponderay Rotary’s main event of the year, raising over 90 percent of their scholarship money. The rest is raised through personal contributions from Rotary members.

You have been warned. Expect rubber ducks at any time. Over and out.

To send someone a heap of ducks, or to purchase anti-ducking insurance, contact J.P. Carver with the Ponderay Centennial Rotary at (208) 290-5364, or email [email protected] All donations will help fund the scholarship program.

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