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4,000 rubber duckies race in Castaic

Sixth annual regatta raises $20,000 for clinics

Posted: October 18, 2008 8:25 p.m.
Updated: December 20, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Ed Bolden, Samuel Dixon Family Health Care Centers chairman of the board, passes the first ten rubber ducks that crossed the finish line, for the sixth annual Rubber Ducky Regatta event, Saturday afternoon at Castaic Lake.

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Four thousand rubber duckies raced across Castaic Lake on Saturday.

The cheerful event marked the Samuel Dixon Family Health Centers, Inc. sixth annual Rubber Ducky Regatta on Saturday. The little, yellow, floating creatures raised $20,000 for the clinics and created a crowd of fans.

“I heard someone say this is the cutest fundraiser in town,” said Adele Macpherson, a board member for the centers.

The Samuel Dixon centers provide health care to under-insured and uninsured patients in the Santa Clarita Valley. All those who wanted to support could adopt a ducky for five dollars.

The day started at 10 a.m. with games, food, and a live band. At 1 p.m. the duckies were off with a crowd of fans lining the beach.

“We couldn’t have asked for a more California perfect day,” said Cheryl Laymen, executive director of the centers. “This is a family-oriented event, so everyone can participate.”

The rays were beating down but that didn’t stop people from getting caught up in the 30-minute race, despite not being able to track which ducky was theirs. Play-by-plays announced by KCAL’s Rick Chambers rallied spirit. 

“Don’t tell anyone, but we gave ours steroids,” said David Stone, a Valencia father who entered four ducks in the race, one for each of his kids.

“This is a good foundation with a good purpose,” Stone said. “It’s something that is much needed for Santa Clarita.”

Others who entered the race had the same outlook. There were valuable prizes at stake including a paid weeks vacation to the Bahamas, but the competition was all in good cheer because the proceeds were for a great cause. “All proceeds offset patient costs,” Macpherson said.

Family Health has three basic clinics that are open to anyone in the community. Our patients pay on a sliding fee so the proceeds go to those whose health service needs are above what they can afford, she said.

Kerry Carmody, chief executive at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, is the clinics’ biggest sponsor. He attended the race with his wife to offer support.

“Samuel Dixon’s mission is so in tune with our mission of really serving the under-served,” he said. “It’s a tremendous organization and with the economy as tough as it is, keeping it strong is as pertinent as ever.”  

After 25 minutes, the first ducky floated its way through the tunnel which led to the finish line. The end was fierce as Chambers announced, “One and two are running into each other. Oh, there’s a blocking move by number one!”

Number one belonging to Jose Dominguez of Val Verde eventually made it to victory. Dominguez was unavailable to pick up his grand prize vacation along with the first runner-up who received a $10,000 savings bond.

Antonina Ortiz of Port Hueneme took second place  and was awarded a children’s playhouse. Mark O’Borsky of Castaic took home a photo package for placing third, which he said he will use on his grandkids.


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