PORT ANGELES — Winning a new Toyota Corolla took Tracy Bloom of Sequim by surprise.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he told Bruce Skinner, executive director of the Olympic Medical Center Foundation, when he was told his yellow rubber duck had been the winner plucked from the dump truck load.
Bloom, owner of Tracy’s Insulation of Sequim, won the first-place prize, donated by Wilder Auto of Port Angeles, in the 33rd annual Great Olympic Peninsula Duck Derby held at Pebble Beach Park in Port Angeles on Sunday.
The is the first time Bloom has taken home a prize since he began entering the annual duck derby in 2006.
“I never win anything,” he said later during a phone interview. “I’ve earned everything I got the hard way.”
He didn’t immediately know what he would do with the new car but said he had a couple of ideas he was considering.
“I’m going to make something positive happen out of this thing,” Bloom said.
The race netted the most money ever for the OMC Foundation: $124,000 after expenses, Skinner said. The old record of $115,000 was set only last year.
Proceeds of the annual fundraiser, which was presented by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, go to the foundation to support medical education and treatment in Clallam County through Olympic Medical Center. Before Sunday’s derby, the foundation had given nearly $7 million to, or on behalf of, OMC during the past decade, Skinner said.
For the prior two years, the Duck Derby had been presented virtually because of COVID-19 health measures. This year, it was in person and at a new venue.
People gathered at the park at Front and Railroad streets in Port Angeles to find a Kids Pavilion and a Very Important Duck (VID) party.
The Bub and Alice Olsen Very Important Duck Race, in which businesses purchase ducks bearing their company logos for $300 each, was first with three winners, followed by the main event, which had 33 winners.
Rubber ducks cost $6 each. For $30, adopters received an extra duck (six chances to win). For each duck that was adopted, the purchaser received a ticket with a printed number, which corresponded to a number on the duck.
The derby, once a “race” with ducks poured into a pond and floating along to cross a finish line, has evolved into what Skinner calls a “duck pluck” in which the ducks never get wet.
For the main derby, six pickups were filled with rubber ducks. Cards were drawn to determine which would contain the order of the “finish line,” and a duck was plucked from each one. In the VID derby, ducks were in one pickup truck.
The event is operated under the rules of the Washington State Gambling Commission.
The top seller of rubber ducks was Esther Littlejohn of Sequim for the second straight year with 2,100 ducks sold.
The top seller in Port Angeles was Gail Ralston with 1,853 ducks, 33,126 all-time.
The top-selling partnership was Larry and Sylvia Strohm, who sold 3,194 ducks. They now have sold 18,900 ducks all-time.
Other top salespeople were Jim Leskinovitch, 1,582, (16,820 lifetime); Karen Rogers, 1,050 (1,731 lifetime); Sandy Sinnes, 978 (7,353); Gay Lynn Iseri, 864 (17,852); Harriet Covention, 746 (1,688); Bill Whitten, 653 (2,447) and Leslie English 611 (11,733).
For information about the Olympic Medical Center Foundation, call 360-417-7144 or see www.omhf.org.