The Dan Smith and Ivan Eidhammer families — and friends — are always ready for all the ducks participating in the Great Feather River Duck Race. As they have for many years, here they are again saving the little yellow creatures from an unknown fate in regions far, far away.

Feather River Ducks swim again

Chester Rotary President Becky Brewster, left, and this year’s Rotary Exchange Student Hannah Doyle raise their arms in jubilation after catching the first three ducks to finish the Great Feather River Duck Race on July 4th. Doyle, who just recently returned from her year as an exchange student to Germany, said she was happy to be back home and even get her feet wet in the river. Photos by Gregg Scott

There are two important races that take place each Independence Day in Chester, the Chester Classic 4th of July Run & Walk and the Great Feather River Duck Race.

The importance of the Chester Rotary-sponsored Duck Race is, of course, that every dollar generated by the race goes toward scholarships for Almanor area high school students.

With every purchase of a ticket that enters a duck in the race, the community is supporting those scholarship efforts that typically raise $3,000 to $4,000 annually.

With high waters last year, the ducks could not safely brave the cold, swift currents and were relegated to a temporary swimming pool.

This year, conditions were perfect and they indeed swam again.

At 2 p.m. on the 4th, the ducks were released into the Feather River at Chester Park for their dash downstream to the Chester Library.

With water levels  lower, the track was a bit slower, but spectators still were enthusiastic about rooting their entry along.

At approximately 2:16 p.m., Chester Rotary President Becky Brewster and Chester Rotary Exchange Student Hannah Doyle scooped the first-, second- and third-place ducks from the river as they crossed the finish line.

The rest of the entries were saved from a long trip to the lake through the efforts and dedication of the Smith and Eidhammer families.

This year’s winning entries were:

– First Place – $1,000, ticket 3104: Toni Bauerlein, Reno

– Second Place – $500, ticket 3167: Cheryl Henry, Chester

– Third Place – $250, ticket 4094: Tim Nelson, San Francisco

The Chester Rotary Club expressed thanks to all the folks that supported the race and a special thanks to all those that sold tickets, prepped the ducks and volunteered on race day.