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story.lead_photo.caption Spectators gather Saturday for the Great Texarkana Duck Race at Holiday Springs Water Park. Photo by Greg Bischof / Texarkana Gazette.

What started off and a quacky fundraiser Nov. 6, 1990, at the Wright Patman spillway, continued to waddle into its 30th year Saturday at the Holiday Springs Water Park.

Although the weather was substantially cooler during that First Annual Great Texarkana Duck Race, some 9,600 yellow plastic ducks didn't seem to mind the mid-morning summer heat, as they lazily floated along in the park's Lay River, which offered a swift, propelling current that carried them to the finish line - on this their 30th Anniversary race.

As tradition holds from year to year, the first five ducks to cross the finish line, netted prizes for their adoptive owners, while the whole group secured perhaps as much as $50,000 in donations to the CHRISTUS St. Michael Foundation, said Christy Lummas, the foundation's development Coordinator. Net total proceeds collected since the race's 1990 inception, now total well more then $1.6 million.

CHRISTUS St.Michael Health Systems President Jason Rounds said the money will be used to continue sustaining, updating and modernizing the hospital's cardiovascular health program and medical equipment.

Children, including members of the Boy Scouts of America Troop 8, conduct a pre-duck-race mixing Saturday of the 9,600 ducks that will take part in the 30th annual Great Texarkana Duck Race. The annual event raises funds to benefit the CHRISTUS St. Michael Foundation. The mixing helps ensure that no duck gets head start advantage in the race.
Photo by Greg Bischof/Texarkana Gazette.

In the weeks before Saturday's duck launch, donors adopted numbered ducks for $5 each or $25 for six. Owners of the first five ducts to finish, won prizes.

P. Armando Sanchez,Jr., won first prize, a 2019 Kia Rio LX, while second prize, a $1,000 Dillard's gift certificate went to James Smith. Marilyn White took home third prize, a $1,000 Holiday Cleaners gift certificate.

Jacqueline Finely won fourth place, a $1,000 Classic Car Wash gift certificate, while F A Stover received the fifth place prize - a $500 gift card from Super 1 Foods.

Rounds added that the water park will likely continue to be the place for future duck races, because of the park's water efficiency in moving the ducks quickly.

"The logistics work great here," he said.

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