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Great Stilly Duck Dash breaks fundraising record with $65,000 | SLIDESHOW

ARLINGTON — After being forced to dump its rubber ducks on the grounds of Haller Park last year, the Great Stilly Duck Dash lived up to its name again this year by sending the ducks downriver on the evening of July 4, albeit reduced from their usual complement of 10,000 to only 150, due to this year's river conditions.

While 8-year-old Hayden Caponey insisted that he would buy "a solid gold toilet" if he won the $5,000 grand prize, the youngest winner turned out to be fellow 8-year-old Sally Jane Pierce, whose grandfather, Doug Newman, purchased the ticket that won her the $2,000 second prize. Pierce promised she would save the money.

Although Pierce and Mitch Rorick, who won the $1,000 third prize, were among the few winning ticket-holders who actually attended the Duck Dash itself, Haller Park was still packed with spectators as the sun set, and their numbers were reflected in the record-breaking $65,000 in proceeds from Duck Dash ticket sales this year.

Arlington Rotary President Linda Byrnes noted that the Duck Dash has been part of Arlington's Fourth of July celebrations for the past 24 years.

"This year's success can be attributed to the many local sponsors who supported the Duck Dash, and the community members who participated," Byrnes said. "We are so grateful for their generosity."

Of the event's other cash prize winners, Chuck Tripp won the $5,000 grand prize, while $100 each went to Linda Buchanan, George Bolton, Bill Blake, John Gralinski, Julie Churchill, Tim Cavanaugh and Cascade Surveying.

All funds raised from the sale of Duck Dash tickets are returned to the community, with an eye toward enhancing the lives of children, seniors and other community members in Arlington, Lakewood and Darrington, as well as around the world. Last year, the Rotary Club of Arlington helped to build a new facility for the Arlington Community Food Bank, gave scholarships to local high school graduates, built a new campsite at Fire Mountain for the Boy Scouts of America, and bought more than 800 pairs of new shoes for Kids' Kloset in Arlington. For more information, log onto www.rotaryclubofarlington.com.

"This has given me the opportunity to see the spirit of the community firsthand," said Linda Jenkins, one of this year's costumed ducks alongside Wally Thomas. "You see that the people who live here love to be here. I got all sorts of hugs and high-fives in my duck costume."

"This is America, right here, today," said Dale Duskin, ticket sales chair for the Duck Dash, on July 4. "These proceeds also help fund Arlington's fireworks and parades, and every ticket bought is a winner, because they all include discounts to local businesses who have supported us, so please support them by shopping there.

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