Scroll down for a gallery of images from the event.
Update: The winner was Marielle Schwartz.
The Nevada Humane Society’s annual Duck Race and Festival was Sunday, Aug. 19, dropping 20,000 rubber ducks into the Truckee River. The race helps to raise money and awareness for the Nevada Humane Society.
Each of the racing ducks was up for “adoption” by a donor and the fastest duck won their adopter a 2018 Toyota Corolla donated by Dick Campagni’s Carson City Toyota.
The Humane Society also had their mobile adoption center on hand with a variety of pets up for adoption. Some of those animals were adopted at the event.
As the 4 p.m. race start time grew near people began to crowd around the river’s edge to watch all of the bright yellow ducks race down the Truckee. Event volunteers set about the unenviable task of asking people to get out of the river, in triple-degree heat, to allow the ducks a clean run down the river.
A high-risk environment and a rubber duck race don’t seem like they should go hand in hand, but race volunteers who were responsible for holding back the onslaught of rubber ducks at the finish line might disagree.
After capturing the first duck to pass the finish line things became more stressful for the volunteers. The weight of the 20,000 rubber ducks combined with the flow of the Truckee river quickly began moving the half-submerged chain-link fencing and volunteers downstream, inch by inch.
Seeing what was unfolding more and more volunteers, and some attendees, took to the water buckets in hand removing ducks as fast as possible. The ducks however failed to relent amassing more and more into the center and pushing volunteers into an ever-smaller space.
As the pile grew, so did onlookers who made half-serious comments about being crushed by the growing mound of yellow or watching thousands of rubber ducks break free into the Truckee River.
Luckily the growing number of volunteers taking up the task of duck removal overtook the mass of ducks, which were brought under control. Volunteers tasked with bracing against the weight could finally rest as the ducks were boxed up to await another chance at freedom next year.
Ty O’Neil is a lifelong student of anthropology with two degrees in the arts. He is far more at home in the tear gas filled streets of war torn countries than he is relaxing at home. He has found a place at This Is Reno as a photojournalist. He hopes to someday be a conflict photojournalist covering wars and natural disasters abroad.