EUGENE, Ore. — Charles Beaudet can say he was there when it all began. He is the only prize sponsor who’s donated to the Great Rotary Duck Race since it got started 25 years ago.
“It’s not ‘hanging in there.’ It’s purposeful,” said the jeweler. “I think that’s really important too and it makes me feel good.”
Each year, Beaudet designs a piece of jewelry worth several thousand dollars for the Duck Race.
“You’re thinking of a theme, you’re thinking of something you want to convey,” Beaudet said, as he explained his design process. “Personally, around here, so many people — because we have the ocean close by and we have the rivers — so many people love that feeling of water and the flow.”
One of the rivers that provides Beaudet with such inspiration also sweeps all those rubber ducks downstream once they’re dropped out of Sanipac’s donated dumpster.
“When it dumps, it’s really exciting,” said Aaron Donley, Sanipac’s sales manager.
Sanipac also started with the Duck Race 25 years ago. Just as the event evolved, so did the trash agency’s involvement.
“We also fabricated a slide that we put inside the box because we noticed some ducks were getting stuck, so we tried to alleviate that problem,” Donley said. “Now they all slide out really smooth.”
If Rotarians have their way, their relationship with Sanipac could evolve a little more.
“We’ve always had a 40 cubic yard box. But they’re selling so many now, I think we’re going to have to build walls up on it,” said Donley.
To help with that boost: Bi-Mart.
“We have the tickets for sale and available at all our stores and then we have different Rotarians come out at different times throughout the month,” said Don Leber, the Northwest-owned and -operated chain’s vice president of marketing.
Bi-Mart also offers one of the Duck Race prizes: a $1,000 shopping spree.
“It’s really been a good marriage between our stores, our members and the Rotary Duck Race,” Leber said.
In a way, the event is like a marriage; it’s grown stronger over the years, touched livesand changed the future for children throughout our community.
“We’ve been proud to be a part of it for so long. It’s a little piece we can do,” said Donley of Sanipac’s 25-year commitment.
Said Beaudet: “Something like this over the years becomes more and more and more meaningful.”
You can check out the prizes and buy tickets at the Great Rotary Duck Race Kickoff Celebration. It’s Tuesday, July 17 at 5:30 p.m. at Valley River Inn.