By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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Terri Harmon of Port Angeles will get her choice of several vehicles from Wilder Toyota, with an estimated value of about $18,000, after one of the six ducks she bought for $25 beat out the other 27,604 ducks entered in the race.
Harmon, 54, co-owner with husband, Jack Harmon, of Expeditions Northwest, said she was home baby-sitting when Bruce Skinner, executive director of the Olympic Medical Center Foundation, called to tell her she won.
Skinner had to repeat his announcement several times to reassure her that she had won.
Harmon said that after years of buying ducks — she couldn’t say how many — it was her first win.
“I won the truck!” she yelled to someone in her house.
She said she wasn’t sure which of the vehicles offered by Wilder Toyota she would choose, she said.
Other top prizes awarded were won by Eliska Skopecek of Port Angeles, who took the second prize of $1,000, which was donated by 7 Cedars Casino; and Deanna Reynolds also of Port Angeles, won third prize: $500 in cash, also donated by the casino.
Pamela Cameron of Sequim took the fourth-place prize, a limited-edition Raymond Weil Othello desk clock valued at $895, donated by the Olympic Medical Center Foundation
But the real contest in the 2013 Duck Derby was between the Port Angeles Fire Department, which wielded two fire hoses to push the ducks across the pond, and a gusty wind that threatened to push the rubber toys back to the starting line.
Winds gusted to 25 mph out of the northwest, according to the National Weather Service weather station at nearby William R. Fairchild International Airport.
The wind died down long enough for the ducks to make their way to the finish line, as Harmon’s winning duck led the flock to a chute where volunteers pulled the ducks in single-file into carefully numbered containers.
The blustery weather seemed to have reduced the number of onlookers from past years, but several hundred duck race watchers still surrounding the pond for the race. It was the second year the derby was held at Lincoln Park instead of Nippon Paper Industries USA’s canal.
A children’s activity tent was set up with carnival games, and face painting.
Abby Rudd, 4, of Port Angeles watched the race with her mother, Jessica Rudd, to see if one of their six ducks might win.
None did, but the youngster said she enjoyed watching the firefighters.
Onlookers said they were amused by the battle between the firefighters and the wind.
“It’s good they did that, they helped them along,” said John Greiner, 39, of Port Angeles.
The main race was preceded by the Bub and Alice Olsen Very Important Duck Race, which featured special ducks purchased for $250.
Winners were Parrish Trucking of Port Angeles, $500 first place; Society of St. Vincent de Paul, $250 second place; and Eric’s RV of Sequim, $100 third place.
More than $2 million has been raised through the Duck Derby in its 23-year history.
The funds are distributed to area charities, including the Olympic Medical Center Foundation, the Sequim Radiation Oncology Center, the Forks Soroptimists, the Lions Club, Kiwanis, the Sequim Boys & Girls Club and Sequim Rotary projects.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.