Record 15,000 ducks race down Manatee River raise $100,000 for PACE Center for Girls

BRADENTON -- It was record-breaking duck race Saturday.

The biggest winners, however, were the girls whose lives are changed each year at the PACE Center for Girls.

The seventh annual Lucky Ducky Race for PACE Center for Girls raised a record $100,000, according to preliminary results revealed after race winners were announced.

It was also the first time all 15,000 ducks made available were adopted.

It was a quick race thanks to a good breeze and swift currents on the Manatee River. The ducks approached the finish line in possibly record-breaking times, although organizers could not confirm the timing.

PACE Executive Director Amy C. Wick Mavis smiled big after the race. She said she overwhelmed by the community's support and how "fabulous" this year's fundraiser was.

"We are very grateful to be here," Mavis said. "It went very quick and it was seamless."

There were no issues getting the ducks to move along the buoy-lined path as in previous years, she added.

The race also attracted more corporate sponsorship than in previous years.

Anna Maria Oyster Bar president and owner John Horne acted as event

announcer. A sponsor and race partner, Horne thanked all those who support PACE.

"It's far surpassing any other race. They never have sold every duck," Horne said. "But they did it this year."

Horne said they continued to raise money event after all 15,000 ducks were adopted because people still wanted to donate. "It's just awesome to see people come out and support PACE," Horne said.

Many with a duck in the race were at the sidelines cheering the flotilla as it was unleashed into the river waters.

Anita Glawgow stood watching near the finish line. "I hope I have the winning duck," Glawgow said. "I'm feeling lucky."

She said she was also enjoying Saturday's weather and the race location where the former restaurant Tarpon Point was located.

Nine-year-old Hayleigh Krause also was hoping her duck was a winner. "I liked the excitement of the race," Hayleigh said.

For more information about the PACE Center for Girls, visit pacecenter.org.

Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.