Pam Morrison has been buying Rotary Club of Comox Ducky 500 tickets annually, since 1992, and she still has all the tickets as proof.
The certificates from each year’s race are all stapled to the roof of her back deck at her Royston home.
“I know, it’s kind of chronic, but it’s just something I started doing and then kept up. Pretty much my entire history of living in this house is represented here,” said Morrison, adding that this year’s ticket will be the last to be hung to this wall, as she has just sold the property.
Morrison started the tradition in 1992, and has bought a ticket in 22 of the 24 years since.
(She missed 2002 and 2004, because she was away at the time.)
She has never won a prize, but is certain her ducks have finished 11th on many occasions. (The Ducky 500 gives prizes to the top 10 finishers.)
“I was runner-up many, many times. If only they awarded the top 15, I’m sure I’d have won lots by now,” she said, tongue firmly planted in cheek. “But really, it’s not about winning. Oh sure, it would be nice, but it’s about supporting a good cause. The Rotary, they’re an excellent club and they do so much work. This is just one thing that I felt every year I would support. I’ve supported other things and other causes as well, but this is the one thing that I do every year.”
The Comox Rotary Ducky 500 is a Canada Day tradition, and a raffle with a twist.
Members of the Rotary Club of Comox sell 6,500 tickets ($10 apiece) and then put those raffle ticket numbers on the same number of yellow rubber ducks. The ducks are all put in the river at Condensory Bridge at the same time and they float down the river to the finish line, under the Fifth Street Bridge.
The first 10 ducks to finish the race get the prizes. The winning ducks, and their “owners” are listed within minutes, on the big tote board outside the Rotary VIP tent.
The top prize this year is a three-day, three-night wildlife adventure tour to Minstrel Island, with accommodations at the Grizzly Bear Lodge (prize value $5,000).
Tickets are available at Comox Quality Foods, Thrifty’s Crown Isle and Downtown Courtenay, Canadian Tire and Comox Mall until the end of the month.
They are also available online at comoxrotary.ca/ducky-500/ until June 27.
If there’s any left on race day, July 1, Rotarians will be selling them on the Canada Day parade route.
Morrison volunteers down at Lewis Park during Canada Day, and is always nearby to watch the Ducky 500.
“I’m always working down at (Lewis Park) on Canada Day, so I hear the cannon go, and I see the ducks go by, then I always go down to the tent to see the results and look down the list and see, ‘OK not me, not me…’
“Maybe this year will be different. Maybe this year I get my top-10 finish.”
The Ducky 500 ticket sales help benefit deserving charities and projects in and around the Comox Valley.