THERE was a quacking good time to be had on the banks of the Macquarie River in Bathurst yesterday.
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Proclamation Day celebrations in the city reached a crescendo at 1pm when the Rotary Club of Bathurst's annual duck race caused a flood of interest.
Children lined the river banks in the minutes before the race, discussing the speed and temperature of the water. They watched with big eyes as more than 280 rubber ducks were cast forth to make the hundred-metre dash downstream.
The bright yellow flock was sluggish to start, with calls from the crowd for the plastic paddlers to be disqualified for being "too slow" before they came into sight, a couple of real ducks floated by and tested the waters!
The main group was given a friendly hurry-up by race officials, before they hit the rapids and picked up speed.
The group soon split, with most racers heading out wide.
It was a case of yellow, yellow and more yellow as the crowd followed the progress of the unsinkable contenders to the finish line.
Taking line honours was Duck Number 124, owned by Joe Lynch. A translator was brought in to relay Duck Number 124's sentiments on winning.
"I had a good run," it said. "It was a clear race and I was lucky to miss the reeds. My competition was very good."
Duck Number 207, owned by Nicole Hansell, and Duck Number 196, trained by Samantha Friend, came in second and third respectively.
Interestingly, the top three ducks were purchased on Saturday, April 27, at the Bathurst City Centre.
First prize was one night accommodation at the Mercure Sydney, including dinner and breakfast. Second prize was a dinner voucher and night out at the opera at BMEC, while third prize was Bathurst Metro Cinemas movie vouchers.
Rotary's "duck man" David Weekes said the fun and games were all for a good cause, with the light-hearted event helping raise funds for charity.
"At the moment we're raising money for Glenray," he said. "Their bus has clapped out and our club has committed to purchasing one for them."
Mr Weekes thanked the community for its support, particularly sponsors Bathurst Regional Council, the Bathurst City Centre, 2BS Gold and the Western Advocate.
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