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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Race official John Rogers, left, encourages more ducks to finish as John McIntire holds up the winning duck in the SCAN duck race Saturday at Johnny Appleseed Park.

Duck race tops $160,000 as organizers improvise

Saturday’s Weigand Construction Duck Race to Benefit SCAN had many firsts.

Because of the drought, Fort Wayne could not allow the dam near Johnny Appleseed Park to be opened, which is normally done to help the multicolored ducks float downriver to the finish line.

Last-minute changes to give the ducks a tailwind boost included fans lent by R.E. Crosby Inc. and Son Construction. The fans were operated by generators from Weigand.

A total of 18,005 ducks were gathered in a large tarp and lifted onto the St. Joseph River by a crane from Don R. Fruchey Inc. The fans were placed on the west side of the riverbank by the boat ramp.

For the first time in the race’s 24-year history, the ducks went across the river rather than down the river. The Fort Wayne Fire Department stood ready to give an extra boost with a spray of water, although it wasn’t needed.

This year was also the first time SCAN, Stop Child Abuse and Neglect, raised more than $160,000. The goal was $153,000, and $162,592 was raised through duck ticket purchases and Duck Dignitary sponsorships of $250 or more.

Winners will be announced in a few days. Indiana gaming rules require confirmation that all winners meet age and other requirements before their names are released.

The first-place winner will be awarded $5,000 cash, donated by Weigand Construction, with the secondplace duckling winning $1,000 cash donated by Mark Noneman No. 1 Advantage Realtors.

SCAN’s programs and services, which directly affected more than 28,500 children and adults in 2011, reach 19 counties in northeast and north-central Indiana. WANE-TV and WMEE-FM 97.3 were media sponsors for this year’s race.