ROCKINGHAM — On your mark. Get set. Float!
Five thousand rubber ducks will be dropped into Hitchcock Creek in a Sunday race to the finish line that could make one lucky winner $500,000 richer.
The inaugural Hitchcock Creek Duck Derby to benefit Sandhills Children’s Center launches at 1:30 p.m. Sunday near the Steele Street entrance to the park.
To participate in the derby, people can “foster” any number of ducks. Prices start at $5 per duck, but the sponsorships are less expensive when purchased in larger quantities.
Melanie Carnes, director of Sandhills Children’s Center’s Rockingham campus, said she is blown away by the support this year’s fundraising season has received from the community and businesses in Richmond County.
“We are super excited about the duck derby,” Carnes said. “That was Teresa Copper’s idea. We had been looking for something fun and creative to do, and Teresa had gone to a duck derby in Stanly County and she brought the idea back home.”
Every duck in the derby is assigned a number, and the number is recorded next to its foster’s name. Prizes are as follows:
First place — Super duck, $1,500
Second place — Lucky duck, $500
Third place and beyond — Prizes from local businesses
If the winning duck’s number matches one of two numbers preselected by SCA Promotions, a million-dollar prize will be shared equally between the “foster parent,” or duck sponsor, and Sandhills Children’s Center.
“Everything we manage to raise gets us closer to the match grant through the Cole Foundation,” Carnes said. “They have pledged $25,000, but we first have to raise $15,000 on our own. We want to build a fully accessible playground so all of our students can play together — those with and without special developmental needs.”
Children’s center spokesman Asa Moran reported good results from the Pigs-4-Kids barbecue sale fundraiser in May, saying nearly 500 plates were sold.
Moran said with summer coming up, the centers do not receive money from the school system for the services they provide year-round.
“Every contribution we receive, each donation and the support from everyone makes a huge difference,” Moran said. “Like Melanie said, we really are blown away by the support from the community.”
In addition to the duck derby, live music from Chris Herring and Roger Campbell begins at 1:45 p.m. Food vendors including Cold Stone Creamery and a bounce house for the kids are also available.
For more details, including information on how to foster a duck, visit www.sandhillschildrenscenter.org/special-events-fundraisers/hitchcock-creek-duck-derby/.
Reach reporter Melonie Flomer at 910-997-3111, ext. 18.